Technical training schools teach the knowledge and skills involved in a particular vocational area, such as electronics, auto mechanics, culinary arts and cosmetology. Technical schools typically offer certificate programs that may take only a few months to complete, as well as associate degree diplomas that may take 2 years. If you see a need for a particular type of technical training school in your area and you possess good organizational skills and enjoy working with others, you should consider opening a school yourself. Starting a successful technical training institution requires planning.
Decide what program or programs your school will offer. Investigate to see what types of certificates and degrees students may receive in your area, as well as the job prospects for the programs you are considering. Schools attract more students when jobs are readily available in the area.
Contact state boards for the vocations you choose, as well as local, state and national organizations associated with them to learn about licensing requirements. If states require licensing for the profession, your programs should lead toward those requirements. Even if certification is not required, the program should include industry standards.
Create the curriculum for each program, following guidelines for licensing or other industry standards. Find out what courses and textbooks other schools use. If organizations offer program approval, complete that approval process.
Work with a local real estate agency to find suitable property for your school. Local agents know the area well and can help you find a place that fits your needs.
Examine how accessible the building is. If you hope to have hundreds of students, you should have parking to accommodate that number. Choose a building close to public transportation, if possible.
Check the capacity of the building and the electrical and plumbing aspects of the building. If you will offer cosmetology, for instance, you will need numerous sinks. A computer program needs many electrical outlets. Hire a building inspector if you need assistance determining if the building fits your purpose.
Apply for a business license through your state's business, labor and employment department.
Contact your city government's business office to determine if you need further inspections or licenses for your school.
Apply for membership in technical school organizations and trade groups, such as the Association for Career and Technical Education. Such organizations offer monetary and marketing assistance and advice.
Call a local insurance agent to purchase liability insurance. Local agents know the requirements in your city, and using regional businesses helps spread the word about your new school.
Select instructors properly trained in the subjects you will offer. Organizational and state licensing and certification boards sometimes set specific requirements regarding teacher qualifications; follow those guidelines carefully. For example, in Georgia, cosmetology instructors must complete 15 hours of teaching courses and obtain a master cosmetology license.
Hire office and other support staff. Personnel must answer phones, maintain the equipment and grounds, assist students with questions and keep track of student information.
Retain a lawyer and an accountant. You may not need these kinds of services full time when you first open your school.
Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.