How to Start a Trade School in Florida

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Capitalize on your skills and start a trade school.
Capitalize on your skills and start a trade school. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Certain skills are timeless, especially those in the trade field. When someone has expertise in areas like plumbing, pipe-fitting, masonry or even painting, it's an expertise that can be shared to many men and women wishing to follow dreams that involve working with both head and hands. If you have a skill such as those mentioned above, and are interested in starting such a school in the Florida area, it might be worthwhile to do so and train those individuals interested in carrying on the skilled craft tradition.

Building, Technical and Administrative

Locate a facility in the Florida area that will meet both your and your students' needs. Keep the goal of your trade in mind when looking at commercial real estate. If you're starting a barber college, you wouldn't want to invest your money into an old restaurant.

Purchase supplies that your students wouldn't be expected to buy before beginning school. If pipefitting is your trade of expertise, students would purchase the necessary tools prior to starting, but your job would be to supply practice pipes or scenarios for them to work on in a lab setting.

Invest in a handful of computers for administrative tasks, including student records, correspondences and bookkeeping. If your trade includes computers as part of the profession, purchase more computers to suit the needs of your potential students.

Teacher Education

Research if proper certification is needed for instructors. If so, licensure would be mandatory before you open the doors to your trade school. The Florida Department of Education is a phenomenal resource for specific questions on certification and accreditation.

Keep your and your teachers' skills sharp by attending courses and seminars that delve into current and updated topics pertaining to your trade. It's better to be on top of the cutting edge rather than trying to play catch-up. Your students will get more out of a progressive education instead of an outdated skill set.

Determine the need for additional teachers to accommodate remedial students still interested in trades. If the demand is high enough to allow for "pre-trade school" courses, it would certainly carve out a niche and give opportunities to those who might not have thought it possible.

Advertising

Organize marketing campaigns to generate interest about your new trade school. Before your first graduating class leaves to find employment, it will be hard to operate on word of mouth alone. Put up signs and flyers around the area and take out advertisements in newspapers and trade magazines to generate both local Florida interest, as well as national interest.

Contact high schools in your particular area of Florida for graduating seniors interested in a skilled trade career. It would be worthwhile to speak to students at career day event or career fairs at high schools in and around your area, as well as within a 50- or 100-mile radius, if time and resources permit.

Cull the unemployment offices for interested parties who might even be entertaining the idea of a career change. Individuals who might be interested in trade school could be looking for a job in a completely different area, and all it might take is a short conversation about trade school to change their mind.

Future Aspirations

Collaborate with staffing agencies and persons of interest within the field, so your students have access to both employment opportunities and internship opportunities both during and after their time in trade school.

Expand your school to host related trades or more classes and certifications within your trade (if applicable). The more marketable and attractive your trade school, the less chance of failure there is.

Develop a website for students and prospective students to utilize before, during and after their time at your trade school. Link your website to trade organizations, and ask those organizations to do the same to generate reciprocal traffic and interest.

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