If there was one piece of career related advice you wish you could go back and tell your childhood self, what would it be?

Luke Nolan: My parents have always taught me to work hard and good things will come out of it. That statement has always stuck with me. Whether it was in sports or in school when I was younger, and now with my career , I still stick to that idea.

How is classroom training coupled with hands-on learning of benefit to a student’s overall learning experience?

LN: Classroom training along with hands-on learning is a key experience in a trade school setting. Learning from a textbook is important because you need to know the theory behind the work you are doing; however there is no better way to learn how to do something than to actually do it.

What is one of the greatest advantages for students who attend a technical school that they wouldn’t normally receive from a four-year university?

Carissa Resch-Diorio: A unique advantage that a technical school offers is the convenience of obtaining job experience necessary to working in the field. Education is broken up between class work and shop time. You learn in class for an hour or so, and then you go to the shop and put that knowledge into action. This allows you time to make more mistakes and pick up skills before entering the job market. We come out of school with the confidence that we have the necessary abilities. Employers can also feel more confident that we have received the training needed to succeed on the job.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to individuals aspiring to pursue a career in the skilled trades, or a certificate degree in general?

CRD: Start young, start now. Be curious, try new things and be patient. Take classes you are interested in while you are in high school to get a head-start before heading to technical school. Be patient with yourself and know that mistakes will happen time and time again. Don’t get upset over that — it’s one of the best ways to learn. You will get better with time, especially if you are always giving it your best effort.

Can you debunk a myth about two-year technical colleges?

CRD: Technical schools are not the “easy way out” of college. The workload will always vary between colleges and will always vary between individuals, but when you love or really enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like work. I learned so much in a class with people who wanted to be there just as much as I did, and the school administration, staff and instructors were all so supportive and wanted everyone to succeed.