Student checks engine in automotive repair training class

4 Signs Auto Mechanic School is Right for You

Should I pursue my passion for cars? If so, is the auto repair industry right for me? And how do I know if this is the right career path to follow?


These are questions you might be asking if you are in the process of choosing a career. Maybe you find yourself drawn to automotive repair training, but you are unsure if the field is right for you. Identifying your natural abilities or passions will help you choose a fulfilling career path. If you have any of the following personality traits or interests, becoming an auto mechanic may be the right path for you.


  1. I like cars.


    From classic to luxury to electric and everything in between, you appreciate the diversity of automobiles. You know the popular models, both past and present, of auto makers. You enjoy attending auto shows, and you like updated cars and trucks as much as futuristic concepts.


    The automotive industry is fueled by individuals with a passion for cars. An appreciation for vehicles will help you learn new skills and give you guidance if you want to pursue an auto mechanic career.


  3. I am curious about how things work.


    If something isn’t working right, you are not afraid to look under the hood. You like to see how things interact and function together. You like to learn about mechanics by taking things apart. If you don’t immediately know how to assemble something, you try to figure it out. Maybe you even like to watch videos or TV shows about how things are made.


    The auto industry is constantly changing as technology becomes more important in cars and trucks. If you want to become an auto mechanic, it is good to be curious and to have a desire to learn.



  5. I like to solve puzzles.


    If it is broken, you can fix it. You love the challenge of identifying a problem and finding a solution. You are observant and pay attention to details. And you especially like being able to fix things because it gives you a feeling of accomplishment. You can work both independently and on a team to solve problems. You’re not afraid of a challenge, but you also like to solve simple problems every now and then.


    The ability to solve puzzles is a great skill if you are interested in an auto mechanic career. Entry-level jobs in the auto repair field focus on diagnosing, repairing and performing preventative maintenance on cars and trucks.


  7. I like to help people.


    Much like solving problems, helping others gives you a sense of pride. And you want to earn someone’s trust, in addition to solving their problem. You are good at explaining things, even if they are unfamiliar with the topic. Maybe you don’t have the most experience with something, but because people like you, they will ask you for help. You know when to offer advice or when to be supportive when someone tells you a problem.


    Individuals with the ability to connect with others find success in the automotive industry, regardless of career path. Understanding unique problems, offering solutions and providing the right assistance are huge assets for individuals seeking an entry-level automotive repair job.


Consider the opportunities available to you in the auto industry by checking out our Automotive Service and Repair program.



*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

The words “I can” next to a person’s hand representing a positive thinking technique

How to Achieve Your Goals with Positive Thinking Techniques

Staying focused in school isn’t always easy—whether you’re in high school, college, or a vocational trade school program. However, studies suggest that positive thinking can lead to happiness and achievement in school and beyond. Positive thinking is truly a powerful way to keep you on track for success.


Learn how to achieve your goals when you reframe your thoughts and stay positive. Here are some ways to use positive thinking techniques in trade school.


Be patient—don’t get discouraged or blame others.

We all deal with stressful situations, but it’s important not to waste energy placing blame on others around you. This makes you feel less powerful and can cause you to resent instructors, teammates or peers. Instead, gain a clearer perspective by writing down your thoughts:

  • List the problems you’re having.
  • Write down five to 10 solutions. Don’t worry if some won’t work out.
  • Next, look at your list, and weigh the pros and cons.
  • Which solutions are best? Choose one or two.
  • Make a plan, and act on it.


Keep in mind, you may need to revisit your list if your plan doesn’t work out the way you expect. Don’t worry—this is normal. Your list is there to guide you; simply try another option.


Avoid unnecessary conflict.

Disagreements at home, school or work are a normal part of life. Because we all learn and work differently, conflicts arise from time to time. Like conflicts in your personal life, disagreements in trade school can hinder the way you interact with other students and can damage relationships.


To lessen your chance of being involved in conflict, try to remain non-judgmental when you don’t see eye-to-eye with others. Discussions are another way to keep the peace, especially in class where other students have varying opinions. If a conflict does arise, keep the lines of communication open to show you respect what others have to say.


Ask for help when you need it.

Imagine this: You’re working through a tough problem in your electrical class, or maybe you can’t get your door frame to line up in your building skills class. No matter how hard you try, you feel like the task at hand is impossible. “Maybe I’m just not cut out for this trade,” you mumble to yourself.


The rules of positive thinking say it’s OK to ask for help. Nobody knows everything, and in moments like these, it’s helpful to remember why you’re in trade school—to learn a new skill. Reach out to instructors and peers, learn from others around you in class and in the shop. Asking for help gives you a fresh perspective, shows you how someone else solves the problem, and proves that you can solve it, too.


Don’t let your past define you.

Many people avoid negative parts of their past by focusing on gratitude. In fact, researchers have found that gratitude has lasting effects on the brain, especially when we write down what we’re grateful for in a gratitude journal.


To start your own gratitude journal, jot down a few things you’re thankful for as you take the train to school, break for a quick lunch, or after you finish an assignment for your plumbing skills class. It’s as simple as appreciating the skills you learn from a dedicated instructor, a cheerful call from an admissions representative, or even just jokes with classmates.


Deciding to learn a trade is about pursuing your goals. It requires determination to move forward. And you can’t overcome challenges if you’re always looking backward. So, take a deep breath, put one foot in front of the other and lean on the power of positive thinking to help you reach your goals.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs. Licensed by NYSED.


Student at Apex’s trade school for electricians is learning the electrical trade

What Is the Electrical Trade?

Electricity grew popular in the late 19th century, and this demand led to the formation of the electrical profession. In fact, many skilled electricians—such as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla—became famous for their electrical inventions.

The electrical trade consists of three areas: industrial, commercial and domestic. Throughout history, tradesmen have often specialized in one electrical discipline, but many have knowledge of more than one. Today, electricity powers nearly everything we use in our daily lives, and there are more exciting electrical trends on the horizon.

If you’re curious about trade schools for electricians or interested in basic training for electricians, you might be a good fit for the electrical trade. Learn more by exploring some common questions of the electrical trade.

    1. What does an individual in the electrical trade do?

      An electrical tradesperson installs, maintains and repairs power and lighting in homes and businesses. Some focus on construction or maintenance, while others specialize in both. Common tasks include:

      • Reading technical diagrams
      • Installing and connecting wires to circuit breakers, outlets, transformers or other systems
      • Using basic electrical tools of the trade
      • Repairing and replacing equipment when it breaks
      • Making quick repairs, often in small or dark areas
      • Correcting potential problems before they occur
      • Fixing motors, generators, and other machines
      • Taking proper safety precautions to avoid injury and electric shock

      All individuals in the electrical trade must follow local and state building codes and the National Electric Code.

    2. Where does an electrical tradesperson work?

      Many work in residential homes, installing wiring and solving electrical problems for homeowners who don’t have a tradesperson’s hands-on skills or knowledge in electrical theory, math and power distribution. However, many men and women in the electrical trade work in factories, warehouses or business buildings, applying their skills on a larger scale.

    3. How long is electrical trade school?

      Basic electrical training at a trade or vocational school involves students learning core electrical skills—both in the classroom and in the shop. Students spend many hours learning electrical safety, residential wiring, breakers and fuses, grounding, bonding, splicing, currents and outlets.

      Because learning a new skill is a time investment, students dedicate weeks and months to brightening their futures. At Apex Technical School, students in the electrical program gain 900 hours of entry-level electrician-skill training in as little as seven months.

      After studying several hundred hours in a classroom and shop setting, many students go on to apprenticeships and entry-level positions in the electrical industry.

      Learn more about the electrical trade at Apex, including classes and areas of study.

    4. What tools does an electrical tradesperson use?

      Learning how to use the right tools is an important part of basic electrical training programs. A tradesperson uses many tools to install, maintain and repair electrical boxes, fuses and wiring. Some valuable tools on your tool belt include:

      • Digital multimeter
      • Tape measure
      • Fish tape
      • Wire stripper
      • Wire crimper
      • Screwdrivers
      • Pliers

      As you learn about working in the electrical industry, read more about electrical tools of the trade and how to use them.

    5. How do I gain electrical skills in New York?

      Enrolling in an accredited trade school is a great place to start if you want to learn entry-level electrical skills. Because every vocational school for electricians has its own look, feel and personality, it’s a good idea to visit the school to see if you feel comfortable there. This is also an ideal time to ask questions you may have about technical school training, classes and instructors.

      At Apex Technical School in Long Island City, Queens, we meet one-on-one with you to discuss your goals and to explain what our school offers:

      • Seven 900-hour certificate courses
      • Hands-on technical training
      • Day and evening classes
      • Job placement assistance
      • Financial aid and work-study to those who qualify


Find out if Apex Technical School in New York is right for you. Contact us today to learn more about our trade school for electricians.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Students going to trade school in vocational training programs

How to Turn Going to Trade School Into a Reality

If you’re considering going to trade school, you’re probably wondering where to start. Do you research financial aid for trade schools first, or should you find the most interesting vocational training program? To simplify the process, we’ve broken weighing your trade school options down into six simple steps that could take you to the first day of class. Start here:

  1. Create a short list.
  2. Before you consider cost or timeline, put your interests first. Create a list of all the accredited trade schools and programs that sound intriguing. Then consider what careers you could pursue with each of those vocational training programs. Which future sounds most appealing to you? To narrow down your list further, limit your schools of interest to only those in an ideal location for you.

  3. Request information.
  4. If you have questions about any of the vocational training programs on your short list, get in contact with the school. Some questions you might want answers to include the following:

    • What courses are required to graduate?
    • What careers have recent alumni pursued?
    • Can I talk with one of the program’s instructors about the program?
    • What does a normal day in the life of a student look like?

  5. Visit.
  6. Once you’ve learned all you can through email, the website, or phone conversations—and you’re still interested in the program—it’s time to visit the school in person. Contact the admissions department to schedule time for a campus tour or conversation with an admissions representative or instructor. Meeting faculty, staff, and students in-person will help you understand the trade school’s culture and if it would be a good fit for you.

  7. Apply.
  8. For the schools you enjoyed visiting, it’s time to start your application process. Reach out to admissions at any time. This is your official request to attend the programs you’re excited about, so you should accurately provide all information requested.

  9. Get help with financial aid.
  10. Once you’ve applied, you can get a better idea of financial aid for the trade schools you’re serious about attending. Ask the admissions departments where to start with your financial aid process. They should be able to introduce you to a financial aid advisor as they process your application. Remember to research all aid sources:

    • Federal financial aid (via FAFSA)
    • Scholarships and grants
    • Loans

    Keep asking questions until you have a clear understanding of the total cost of your program with financial aid factored in.

  11. Decide.
  12. Once you’ve been accepted, it’s time to decide when and where to start your vocational training program. If you’re accepted to more than one, your decision may come down to each school’s culture or cost after financial aid. Choose what’s best for your goals and lifestyle, and dive in head first when it’s time to start classes.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Individuals in construction career path take measurements for door installation

5 Signs a Construction Career Path is Right for You

What career path should I pursue? What trade am I passionate about? How can I turn my natural skills into a future?


These are all questions you’re probably asking yourself when considering career paths. And if you’re drawn to the construction trade, we want to help you make an informed decision about a construction career path. If you find any of the following statements apply to you, pursuing the construction industry may be a good fit for your goals and interests.

  1. I work best with my hands.

    Were you a Lego enthusiast as a kid? Do you enjoy tinkering with models, even as a teen or adult? Do you learn best when there’s something physical to build or examine?


    Working well with your hands indicates that you like to understand how physical objects fit and work together. Playing with Legos and models probably fostered that skill early on, which translates to both strong critical thinking abilities and physical awareness.


  3. I enjoy home improvement projects.

    Many people dread fixing things around the house because they know there’s so much room for error; so they resort to hiring a professional. There’s nothing wrong with hiring someone already in construction to handle the project, but if your first instinct is to brainstorm and try to build the solution yourself, you may have a natural interest in construction-related tasks. You could foster that natural interest by working toward a construction career path.


  5. I like working but don’t want to be tied to a desk all day.

    If moving around fuels your creativity and helps you accomplish tasks, you may be more suited to field work than to a desk job. While some people love the office environment, it’s not right for everyone. Sitting at a computer, answering phones, and attending office meetings can feel stifling. If you feel more productive on your feet, you may find the construction trade a rewarding fit.


  7. I enjoy working with tools.

    This one may sound obvious, but many people ignore their love of using tools, not realizing that their hobby could be turned into their future. If you have fun using drills, saws, hammers, levels, and more, consider the fulfillment you could have by using those tools every day in the construction trade.


  9. I’m naturally curious.

    Individuals with careers in the construction industry should be well-versed in related trades, such as electrical, plumbing, and carpentry. While those other trades can be career paths in themselves, construction ties them together into one final product. If you enjoy learning new topics and relating them to your current life or task at hand, you may have a curious, holistic mindset that could be applied to construction.


    As you consider your career path options in the construction industry, explore our Construction & Building Skills program.


    *Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.


    Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

tools for Apex Technical School

Is Apex Technical School Right For You?

Start Your Journey to Learning a Trade at Apex Technical School.

Get to know Apex and learn how you can prepare for a hands-on technical education. Check out the infographic to learn more.

Is Apex Right For You? Infographic

Apex students receiving technical education in welding class

The Value of Technical Education

What is a trade school?

Trade schools specialize in hands-on training that prepares students for entry-level work. More importantly, trade schools help busy students obtain the skills and experience they want to enter the workforce in a chosen field.

A technical education offers many advantages over an education at a traditional, four-year university. Most trade school students agree traditional college doesn’t fit their unique goals. If you’re one of those people, you’re not alone. Let’s examine how a technical education is a valuable way to gain skills and training to enter a new career.

  1. Specialized programs prepare students for entry-level work
    A trade school curriculum is designed to build entry-level skills. For example, students training in the construction program at Apex learn how to use common tools of the trade to frame windows and doors, install light fixtures, and more. This kind of hands-on learning provides you with practical experience you can use as soon as you enter the workforce. When you solve problems in a classroom or shop setting, you prepare for entry-level tasks.

  3. Spend less time in school
    If you intend to enter your career field quickly, trade school provides a faster track than colleges and universities, which typically take two to four years to complete. Trade school minimizes disruptions for students who juggle busy work schedules with family commitments. With the option to take day or evening classes, trade schools provide a valuable opportunity that may fit with your lifestyle.

  5. Small classes are personal and adult-oriented
    In general, compared to traditional universities and colleges, many students at trade schools value the hands-on training, as well as the support and encouragement they receive in their smaller-sized classes. Trade school instructors dedicate time to helping you learn, troubleshoot, question, and expand your skill set.

  7. No waiting to enroll
    Students who apply to four-year universities often wait months before they start classes. With technical education, you are on a fast-track to enrollment. At Apex, you’ll visit the school, see the workshops equipment, and meet your Admissions advisor. Once accepted, you can complete hands-on career training in as little as seven months.

  9. Career Services assists upon graduation
    Students who complete trade school training programs receive friendly, helpful assistance. Career Services advisors can help you search for career options that fit your skill sets and goals.

A career and technical education can help you obtain the skills, knowledge, and experience you need for entry-level work. By learning a trade at Apex Technical School, students follow their goals and prepare for positions in their chosen industry.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

An Apex student stands on a ladder and uses wood working tools

Wood-Working Tools for the Construction Trade

Tradesmen in the construction industry build frameworks and structures, and they rely on wood-working tools to craft and shape their materials. Door frames, stairwells, rafters, and many other residential and commercial building elements are made of wood. Therefore, it’s important for individuals in the construction trade to learn which basic carpentry tools help accomplish daily tasks.

Common Carpenter Tools List

Individuals in the construction trade should learn how to master common tools of the trade, from tape measures to table saws. Additionally, building up a reliable, versatile collection of wood-working tools helps carpentry tradesmen feel confident in the work they do.
What tools do carpentry tradesmen need? Let’s dive into a list of common carpenter’s tools.

  1. Tool Pouch
    Most tradesmen prioritize keeping their tools handy. At a fast-paced job site, you can waste time looking for misplaced tools. Stay organized by wearing a tool pouch. Select a heavy-duty leather or canvas pouch large enough to hold important supplies. Choose a pouch with a hammer loop and an adjustable waist belt.

  3. Tape Measures
    Whether you are building a door frame, installing hardwood floors, or performing many other carpentry tasks, it’s vital to take accurate measurements. Use a small, flexible pocket tape measure for intricate projects and tight spaces. Select a sturdy, metal tape measure with both traditional and metric systems.

  5. Nail Gun
    When tradesmen need to drive many nails quickly and efficiently, an air nail gun is an optimal tool. Also called pneumatic nailers, air nail guns use compressed air to create enough force to rapidly drive thick nails through hard materials. Tradesmen use air nail guns to install baseboards and molding, among many other wood-working tasks.

  7. Hammer
    When looking for a quality hammer, stay mindful of three key factors: balance, material, and claw design. Hammers with proper head-to-handle weight distribution balance and swing easily, giving your tendons and muscles a rest. According to many tradesmen, high-carbon steel hammers with a wooden or fiberglass handle absorb otherwise painful vibrations. Finally, hammers designed with a double-bevel claw allow enough clearance to slip under and grab any size nail head.

  9. Chisel
    Individuals in the carpentry industry use chisels for chopping dove tails, paring joints, and cleaning up wooden door hinges, among other tasks. Available in various sizes, chisels range from one-quarter inch to two inches. Wooden handles capped with metal withstand hammering and often last longer than chisels with plastic handles.

  11. Hand Saw
    Tradesmen who use hand saws prefer their control and ability to produce a clean cut. While not a replacement for power saws, hand saws—including hacksaws, rip saws, and others—are simple, helpful, and cordless tools for the carpentry trade.

  13. Sawhorse
    Like a work bench, a sawhorse provides a stable work platform. While benches or tables are bulky, sawhorses fold up for easy transport and are light enough to carry a long distance. Tradesmen who work with cables and small tools should consider a sawhorse with side hangers and deep trays to stay organized. Those who frequently work with large or heavy pieces of wood and metal should opt for a sawhorse with non-slip rubber feet and a spacious surface.

  15. Marking Tools
    Finally, marking tools are a common item in a tradesman’s tool box and can include chalk lines and a carpenter’s pencil. Use a flat, wide carpenter’s pencil for steady, predictable lines. Flat pencils are easy to grip and can be sharpened at both ends. To mark as you measure, use a chalk line, which leaves a dusting of red or blue chalk. For razor-thin lines that won’t smudge, use a marking knife.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.


An Apex student uses electrical tools to install a light fixture

Electrical Tools of the Trade

Tradesmen in the electrical industry evaluate issues and diagnose problems using math, technical knowledge, blueprints and hands-on training. However, they require basic electrical tools to perform and complete installations and repairs. Discover how common tools for electrical work help many individuals diagnose and correct electrical problems in homes and businesses.

Common Electrical Equipment List

The right electrical tools are important to performing safe installation, maintenance and repair work. While technology and innovation have greatly improved electrical wiring tools over the years, there are some basic electrical tools tradesmen need, regardless of the work they do. These tools help individuals in the electrical industry work smarter, simpler and safer:

  • Digital multimeter
  • Tape measure
  • Fish tape
  • Wire stripper
  • Wire crimper
  • Screwdrivers
  • Pliers

Before you choose your tools, consider how each tool functions, its range of use and other components that make it a valuable item in your tool belt.

Digital Multimeter

A digital multimeter is an all-in-one tester for measuring voltages, currents and resistance in an electrical circuit. It helps tradesmen locate fluctuations in power due to bad wiring and prevent unintended electrical shocks. Individuals in the electrical industry consider this a standard diagnostic tool for taking electrical measurements.

Tape Measure

Many individuals in the electrical trade carry one or more tape measures. Tape measures help determine accurate heights for outlet and switch placement, assist with centering light fixtures and much more.

Fish Tape

Also known as draw wire or draw tape, fish tape routes new wiring through walls and electrical conduits. Tradesmen maneuver its narrow band of steel—along with a guide string—through tight spaces inside walls. Eventually, the guide string pulls wires and cables through the wall cavity.

Wire Stripper

Electrical tradesmen often need to strip or cut off insulation wires. Wire strippers are designed with various-sized teeth for cutting a variety of wire sizes. Some wire strippers feature ergonomically designed handles and curved blades that provide clean, precise cuts through tough wire and cable.

Wire Crimper

When an individual joins two pieces of metal wire, he or she generally uses a wire crimper to deform the pieces so they hold together. Wire crimpers allow electrical tradesmen to repair wires causing faulty circuit connections by providing a long-lasting seal.


Most individuals in the electrical industry need a variety of screwdrivers, including Phillips 1 and 2, straight blade screwdrivers, magnetic screwdrivers and screwdrivers with interchangeable tips.


A set of pliers is one of the most common tools of the electrical trade. Diagonal pliers specifically cut wires in tight spaces, while a set of do-it-all pliers with a squared-off tip are ideal for twisting, cutting and pulling wires.

Want to learn more about electrical? Explore the Electrical program at Apex.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.


Three common plumbing tools used by a plumber

Common Plumbing Tools for the Plumbing Trade

Plumbers assemble, install, and repair pipes used for heating, water and drainage in residential homes and businesses. Often, they face unforeseen circumstances and scenarios in which they must rely on their training, knowledge of the trade, and the tools they have on hand. Therefore, accumulating and maintaining a supply of tools is key for plumbers.


Plumbing Tool List

In addition to hands-on training, individuals in the plumbing trade require specific tools and materials to successfully complete on-the-job repairs. From basic tools such as plumber’s wrench to more advanced equipment like a propane torch, every individual in the trade should learn how to use the common tools of the trade.


What tools do tradesman in the plumbing industry need? Let’s look at a few tools common to an average plumbing task or repair.


  1. Plumbing Wrenches

    The wrench is one of the most basic and essential tools used by a plumber. It’s important to note that plumbers need several different wrenches to remove fittings due to varying pipe sizes. Some useful wrenches include:

    • Fixed wrenches (standard and metric)
    • Pipe wrench (large and small)
    • Adjustable crescent wrenches
    • Basin wrench

    Pipe wrenches have strong, adjustable jaws for turning iron pipes, but plumbers should be cautious when using them on PVC, so as not to crack the plastic pipe.


  3. Drain Tools

    A plumber should be well-prepared to resolve clogged sinks, bathtubs, showers, toilets, and other drains throughout households and commercial businesses. To do so, he or she should understand some helpful tools:

    • Plunger
    • Hand auger (also called a plumber’s snake)
    • Screwdriver
    • Bucket, rags, and sponge

    Hand augers and plungers help remove debris and allow water to flow freely through a drain pipe. No matter which drain is clogged, it’s wise to have a bucket, rags, or a sponge on hand to clean up excess water and debris.


  5. Tools and Supports for PVC Pipes

    Another common tool in the plumbing trade is the hacksaw. Plumbers use hacksaws to cut new pieces of pipe to the correct size when replacing old or damaged PVC pipe. To make clean, level cuts, plumbers also utilize a pipe cutter.

    • Hacksaw
    • PVC pipe cutter
    • Metal file and brush
    • PVC primer
    • Pipe glue

    Plumbers use a metal file to smooth any rough edges and a brush to dust off residue. Additionally, plumbers can create a water-tight seal around the mouth of a PVC pipe with pipe glue. Though easier to install and repair than copper or galvanized steel pipes, plastic plumbing pipes still require a support system to minimize vibration and help distribute the weight of passing water. Generally, plumbers support PVC pipes with strapping, clamps, and anchors.


  7. Emergency Supplies
    Corrosion from rust or mineral deposits can damage metal parts, and replacement is often necessary to ensure a proper fit and resolve leaks. In addition to tools, plumbers should have a variety of spare parts available, including:

    • Fittings
    • Washers
    • Valves

    Lastly, if a plumber uses a propane torch to sweat copper pipes and fittings, a fire extinguisher should always be nearby for safety.

Interested in learning about the plumbing trade? Check out the plumbing program at Apex.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

An Apex student works on A/C refrigeration repairs while learning a trade

A Guide to Learning a Trade Part Time

Trade schools—also known as technical schools—are job-focused training programs popular across the United States where students often obtain specialized certificates or degrees in two years or less. Individuals at trade schools often find learning a trade part time to be a rewarding, faster route to pursuing their career goals.

How fast can I complete a trade school program?

If you’re interested in fast trade school programs, there are a few items you’ll want to consider when selecting your trade school. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much time do I have for trade school?
  • First, determine how much time you can devote to learning a new trade. Learning a trade part time is an excellent option for individuals who are already working a current job or have family obligations that require their energy, care and time. Part-time technical classes empower students to learn on a schedule that works with their lifestyles.


  • When would I attend classes? (i.e. day or night)
  • Next, consider when you will attend classes. If you work during the day, night classes might be right for you. However, if you care for your family at night, attending classes during the day will allow you more family time in the evenings.


  • Does trade school offer the skills I want to learn?
  • The benefits of trade schools are many; however, students often mention technical, hands-on learning as the key factor to completing a program in a short period of time. Concentrated, specialized trade programs focus only on what students need to learn for specific jobs. For example, students don’t spend time on general or broad elective courses such as art history or social studies.

Fast Trade School Programs at Apex Technical School

Learning a trade can be a faster route to entering the workforce, especially when compared to traditional four-year university degree programs. At Apex Technical School, you can complete various hands-on learning programs in as little as seven months. Apex can prepare you to pursue entry-level positions in these industries:

  • Auto Repair
  • A/C & Refrigeration
  • Auto Body Repair
  • Welding
  • Electrical & Advanced Electrical
  • Construction
  • Plumbing

By learning a trade at Apex Technical School, students can benefit from day or evening class times and hands-on learning experiences with skilled instructors. A technical school can help you learn a trade and pursue the skills you want to fulfill your goals.
Learn more about our programs today.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Refrigeration trends include smart refrigerators, which help you make your grocery list on a smart phone when you run out of items.

3 of the Latest Refrigeration Trends

The HVAC market, which includes domestic and commercial air conditioning and refrigeration systems, is constantly evolving to better produce more efficient and safer home appliances. Refrigerators are no exception. Cooling technology has come a long way since the ice box. Here are some noteworthy refrigeration trends gaining speed in the industry and today’s households.

Smart refrigerators act as a family hub

Homeowners looking to make their homes a little smarter are turning to connected appliances or devices that can communicate with one another. Top home appliance brands including Samsung and Frigidaire have released refrigerators with seemingly futuristic capabilities with the intention of bringing families together.

Smart refrigeration features include built-in screens that allow you to watch TV, digital sticky notes and family calendars, and the ability to stream music during cooking or entertaining. Some smart refrigerator models utilize interior cameras to track food inventory with images that can be referenced during shopping trips.
According to Consumer Reports, the smart home evolution is center stage. Christine Edwards, senior analyst at Gap Intelligence says, “Deep learning technology is expected to be the next iteration and focus for smart home appliances as they continue to evolve to our lifestyles, physical home space, adaptive environments and user dynamics.”
Smart refrigeration features include built-in screens that allow you to watch TV, digital sticky notes and family calendars, and the ability to stream music during cooking or entertaining. Some smart refrigerator models utilize interior cameras to track food inventory with images that can be referenced during shopping trips.
According to Consumer Reports, the smart home evolution is center stage. Christine Edwards, senior analyst at Gap Intelligence says, “Deep learning technology is expected to be the next iteration and focus for smart home appliances as they continue to evolve to our lifestyles, physical home space, adaptive environments and user dynamics.”

Environmentally safer refrigerants

When it comes to choosing major appliances, many homeowners and business owners say environmentally friendly options are important to them. The Linde Group, a leading world supplier of industrial, process and specialty gases, notes the rise of R600a, also known as Care10, in a range of popular refrigeration appliances.

This natural refrigerant is popular “due to its low environmental impact and excellent thermodynamic performance, and it is now the refrigerant gas of choice in domestic and small commercial refrigerators.” The good news for earth-conscious shoppers looking for domestic or commercial refrigerators? Care10 is a nontoxic refrigerant rated with zero ozone depletion potential and very low global warming potential.

Greater need for ease of use and energy efficiency

Today’s homeowners are not only concerned with Wi-Fi-connected features and safe cooling systems, but also appliance efficiency. What does this boil down to? Energy bills. Fewer people are willing to pay the high sticker cost for a refrigerator if that machine consistently increases electric bills.


To help combat energy inefficiency, manufacturers have designed new models with glass windows built into the refrigerator door. When a user walks within proximity of the fridge’s sensor, the interior lights up and allows the user to see what’s inside without opening the door and releasing the cold air. Thus, energy costs stay low.
Additional features such as air-tight crispers, LED lighting, and in-door storage can also help lower energy costs and improve use. Technology that focuses on better user experience leads to home appliances that function for the way we live and consume energy.
Where will refrigeration trends go next? Keep up with Toolbox Chatter for the latest news in refrigeration and high-velocity HVAC technology.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

The New York Times Building, built by Renzo Piano who comes from an Italian family of carpenters

Meet NYC’s Famous Construction Workers

As a manmade empire, New York City prides itself on its skyline and structures. Behind those structures are the construction workers, carpenters, and architects who built them. Meet some of them who’ve risen to fame through their construction skills.

Gamaliel King

Gamliel King, a carpenter and grocer who lived in New York in the 1800s, rose to success as he used his carpentry skills to build many of New York City’s structures with partner and foreman John Kellum. Here are some of his buildings:

  • Brooklyn City Hall (Greek Revival)
  • Friends’ Meeting House (Italianate), a stop on the Underground Railroad and now the Brotherhood Synagogue
  • The Washington Square United Methodist Church (Gothic Revival), now condominiums
  • Kings County Savings Bank

Renzo Piano

From a family of Italian builders, Renzo Piano grew up under the influence of his grandfather’s masonry company. After attracting attention for his projects in Italy in the 70s, Piano expanded into international building work, eventually opening his own firm with British architect Richard Rogers. In New York City, he’s since built the following:

  • New York Times Building
  • Whitney Museum of American Art
  • Morgan Library extension
  • 565 Broome (a twin-tower residential building)

For his buildings and designs, Piano is considered an important contributor to today’s culture around the world. Among many other awards throughout his career, he won the 1998 Pritzker Architecture Prize.

The “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” Men

A symbolic photo of New York City’s history, this famous portrait features 11 construction workers eating lunch on the soon-to-be-completed Rockefeller Center. The New York Times featured the newly identified names of some of these depression-era workers, whom many New Yorkers can identify with as their ancestors or symbols of their own hard work toward the American dream:

  • Joseph Eckner
  • Joe Curtis
  • Sonny Glynn
  • Matty Shaughnessy

AECOM Tishman

AECOM Tishman is one of the most important construction companies of today’s New York City. Daniel McQuade leads the Construction Services division, and was President of Tishman Construction before it was acquired by AECOM. The group leads the redevelopment of the World Trade Center site, and AECOM tops all NYC ground-up construction projects in square footage, according to The Real Deal. It also comes in as the fifth largest general contractor for alterations and renovations.


Want to take your interest in building skills to the next level? Explore the Construction and Building Skills program at Apex.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Shielding gas and gas cylinder, some of the basic welding tools and equipment

4 Basic Welding Tools & Equipment Pieces

With all the types of welding, figuring out which tools you need can feel overwhelming. Below, we’ve explained some of the basic welding gear beginners may encounter. Find out what each of them does, along with some factors to consider when learning how to use them.


    1. Welding Machines

One of the most essential and basic welding tools are welding machines, which provide most of the power and equipment you need to weld. You will need different welding machines depending on what types of welding you plan to do:

      • Flux-Cored and MIG welders
      • TIG Welders
      • Stick Welders

Each type of welding machine is best for different uses and features, including speed, material welded, precision, strength, and welding environment. For example, MIG welding tools allow you to work with steel, stainless steel, and aluminum alloys, while only stick welding gear can handle cast iron.


    1. Shielding Gas & Gas Cylinder

MIG and TIG (or GMAW and GTAW) welding requires a shielding gas to protect the weld from atmospheric gasses. Welders choose their shielding gas based on cost, distributor, and use. The most popular shielding gases include pure or careful mixtures of helium, argon, CO2, oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen. The welding gas or mixture of gases you use affects the quality and capability of your weld.

Shielding gas must be stored in properly designed and functioning gas cylinders to prevent leaks and allow for optimal use during welds. Many welders purchase used cylinders they can have refilled by their supplier on a regular basis. The size of the cylinder depends on how much gas the welder plans to use, and how portable the cylinder needs it to be.


    1. Consumable Welding Wire

Certain types of welding require a consumable metal wire to create an electric arc between your welding tool and what you’re welding. This ultimately melts the two metals together, creating the weld. Welding wires of varying sizes can be made of the following metals, depending on what and how you’re welding:

      • Silicon
      • Manganese
      • Titanium
      • Aluminum
      • Zirconium
    1. Spool Gun

For welding that requires consumable wire to create the electrode (explained above), a spool gun is used to feed the consumable wire into the welding gun. According to Weld My World, spools can prevent your consumable wire from bunching up in the wire feeder. When shopping for a welding machine, torch, or gun, check for this capability, especially if you’ll be working with aluminum wire.

Interested in learning about the welding trade? Check out the welding program at Apex.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

New York City skyline showing electrical trade

A Guide to Choosing Trade Schools in NYC

Trade and technical schools in New York provide students with comprehensive, hands-on education and skills to enter the workforce. Whether you pursue a career in the heart of the city, or you take a job in a small town, New York is home to numerous trade schools for ambitious students motivated to advance their professional lives.

As you determine what type of technical school is right for you, it’s best to consider the unique ways various programs can directly benefit you. As you begin your new career journey, weigh your trade school options by examining all facets of a training program.

What Do Trade Schools Offer?

Unlike most colleges and universities that require two, four or more years of study, trade or technical schools offer a faster education. At a technical school, you take only the classes you need to hone your skills for a specific trade. Many students choose trade schools for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Specialized programs
  • Practical, hands-on training
  • Lower tuition costs compared to a four-year college or university
  • Accelerated time to graduation
  • Day and evening classes
  • The trade school culture

For students living in or near New York City, there are additional benefits to attending a technical school. The size of the New York City population provides more opportunities than more rural and suburban neighborhoods. Further, students at trade schools in NYC will also be in a booming culture that includes:

  • Sports
  • Recreation
  • Art museums
  • Music
  • Technology
  • Stores and restaurants

The city’s iconic skyline, the energy on the streets, a subway that runs 24 hours a day, and even the pizza are all specific features that students love about getting an education near New York City.


What are My Trade School Options?

If you’re ready to begin training for a trade you’re passionate about, it’s time to determine which technical school is right for you. To do this, ask yourself the following questions as you research possible programs:

    1. Does this school offer hands-on learning?

Hands-on learning is a critical part of learning a trade. Respected programs help you learn the skills and knowledge you need to succeed by allowing you to experience the work firsthand.

    1. Is this school accredited?

Not all schools are accredited by a federally recognized association. Choosing an accredited technical school means that you’re attending a school with well-developed programs and administration that meet specific standards.

    1. Can I get help with financial aid, job placement, or work study at this school?

Many technical or trade schools assist students with these important aspects of their education. While some students don’t require financial aid, students can benefit from financial aid if you qualify. Contact the admissions department to learn how a school can answer your questions before you enroll and after you graduate.

Knowing how to choose a trade school that’s best for you will help you reach your career goals. Understanding your options can help make it easier to choose a path that is rewarding for your personal and professional future.

Wondering what you can expect in class and shop? Schedule a tour to visit Apex.



*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Electrical student using electrical technology on wall outlets

3 Top Trends in the Electrical Technology Industry

Increasingly, homeowners are turning to home alternative energy sources and smart technology to save money on electrical costs. They want electrical technology that is better for the environment and their pocket books. As electrical trends continue to evolve, it’s important to know which innovations are rising to the top of this exciting industry.

Residential Solar Electricity

Solar electricity isn’t a new invention. In fact, it’s been around since 1954 and has been used to power everything from space satellites to calculators and wristwatches.

Today’s homeowners, businesses, and governments are installing rows of solar cells on rooftops, hill sides, and farm fields. These solar cells—also called photovoltaic (PV) cells—convert sunlight into electricity. This feature makes solar power for homes highly desirable to individuals looking to save on electric costs over time.

As technology improves and demand for solar electricity goes up, systems such as solar hot water, solar heating and cooling, and solar electricity are becoming more cost effective for homeowners to install. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “Because of their flexibility, thin film solar cells can double as rooftop shingles and tiles, building facades, or the glazing for skylights.”

USB Wall Outlets

Grounded outlets have been a necessity in American homes since the 1960s. However, with modern devices like phones, tablets and computers, homeowners want faster, easier ways to charge their batteries.

Outlets designed specifically for USB ports can be installed by swapping out a traditional outlet. A new receptacle can mean homeowners don’t have to choose between the table lamp, charging their phone, and turning on the A/C window unit. Additionally, homeowners can rest easy knowing that as technology evolves, USB outlets are replaceable.

Lighting Upgrades

Many homeowners choose to incorporate more functional and modern lighting in their new homes and remodeling plans. Recessed and under-cabinet lighting offer a practical solution to dark kitchens or bathrooms while adding to the aesthetic of the room. Similarly, focused track lighting is a chance for homeowners to illuminate specific areas of the home, from portraits to art and more.

Tech-smart homeowners, however, choose upgrades that may require specific products and installation techniques. Home automation enthusiasts may want to install wireless lightbulbs, switches, dimmers, or outlets, which they can control by using Alexa, Amazon Echo’s virtual assistant.

Finally, homeowners with electrical panels and systems more than 20 years old generally opt to upgrade their amperage. With older systems, there is the potential for electrical fire. In order to safely provide enough power to a home, someone in the electrical field will inspect and make the proper conversions to ensure the system accommodates appliances in modern homes, including air conditioners, TVs, computers, stoves, refrigerators and lamps.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.<

Student works on large window to improve natural light, one of today’s top residential construction industry trends

A Guide to the Latest Residential Construction Industry Trends

When it comes to aesthetics and functionality, homeowners usually look to incorporate what’s trending or hot on the market. Whether a homeowner is building a home or renovating a living space, there are many popular designs and construction materials to fit their unique style. Here are some of the latest trends in the residential construction industry.


Separate Laundry Rooms

The number one feature homebuyers are looking for in 2017 is a room for laundry. According to, 92% of homebuyers desire a room in which they can wash, dry, and stack clean laundry—and then keep it out of sight until they put it away.


If a homeowner doesn’t have an extra room or closet available for a laundry appliances, the basement is a great location for this addition. Utility lines are already accessible, and if the basement is unfinished, demolition won’t be necessary prior to constructing walls or doors in the space.


Larger Bathrooms

Constructing a bathroom is no inexpensive feat. When it comes to bathroom trends, many homeowners choose timeless designs and construction materials to stretch their dollar further. So what do homeowners want in a bathroom renovation?


The American Institute of Architects reports construction market trends have seen an uptick in simple, universal bathrooms. As more older Americans move in with their children, accessibility is key. Walk-in showers, low sinks, and textured tile or slatted wood floors all offer ease of use and a modern aesthetic.


Increased Light Inside and Outside

Sunlight delivers mental and physical health benefits, and it can make a home feel larger and more comfortable—not to mention potentially reduce energy bills. To achieve this, many homeowners turn to large picture windows that offer an abundance of daylight. According to, insulated picture windows are not only beneficial to dark areas of the home that need an infusion of natural light, but they also have fewer gaps through which air or water can leak.


Similarly, homeowners desire adequate light on the exterior of the home, including walkway and patio lights, motion sensor flood lights, and outdoor wall lanterns or sconces. The National Association of Home Builders cites lighting as the most-wanted outdoor feature, with 90% of homebuyers saying they want this feature in their home. While lighting might seem like a small detail, it can increase the safety and comfort of a home tenfold.


Highly-Functional Kitchens

Because they are the daily site of multiple meals and activities, kitchens serve as the focal point and gathering place of the home. A generation ago, individuals in the construction industry experienced high demand for formal dining rooms and small kitchens. Today, homeowners spend much of their day plugged in to phones, computers, and TV, so when it comes to eating, they want the same feeling of casual community.


This means homeowners want large, eat-in kitchens where family and friends can gather to cook, eat, and spend time together. They often require walk-in pantries, double islands, and energy efficient appliances that can serve their needs over time.


Today’s homeowners have specific wants and needs. Staying up-to-date on the latest trends is a vital way to increase your unique value as an individual in the construction industry.



Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.


Use group work to learn how to succeed in school by treating school like a job

5 Ways You Should Treat School Like a Job

If you want to make the most of your trade school education, it’s essential that you take every assignment, workshop, and opportunity seriously. When you start treating trade school like a job, you will be implementing one of the most important student success tips.

Learn about how to succeed in school by treating it like a job below.

    1. Early is on time, and on time is late

Treating trade school like a job means being on time to every commitment, whether you’re going to class, a study session, or a meeting with your instructor. One way to become timelier is to change your mindset around what on time means. If you want to ensure you’re on time to every commitment, start arriving at least five minutes early. Arriving a few minutes early to every commitment shows dedication, and it builds a useful skill for your future.

    1. Value teamwork

Group projects aren’t a method instructors use to frustrate overachievers and enable underachievers. They are training exercises that prepare you for working on real-world teams. No matter what your future holds, you will need to interact with people of all different personalities and skillsets. If you want those interactions to be productive and enjoyable, use your group work in school as an opportunity to build collaboration skills.

    1. Exceed your goals

To get a promotion in the real world, you usually need to not only meet but also exceed your employer’s expectations. To exceed their expectations, you must go above and beyond your established responsibilities. Start setting the bar high while you’re in trade school so this becomes your mindset early on. Try the following:

      • When you’re confused about something, ask questions and commit personal time to learning it.
      • Ask your instructor what you can be doing outside of the workshop or classroom to keep learning.
      • Don’t simply aim for good grades; ask yourself and your instructors how else you can prepare for the real world.

The workplace demands that you be respectful toward every employee, regardless of your personal feelings. Practice showing respect to everyone by starting with your instructors and fellow students, especially in frustrating situations. Trade school is your chance to build your communication skills and patience before the stakes are raised.

  1. Team Success = Personal Success

Even if you have all your ducks in a row in the workplace, if the entire company doesn’t see financial success, you may not be rewarded. Keep in mind that for all your personal academic success, what really matters in the workplace is the growth of the team and business. Practice in school by helping your classmates. Build them up, and find out how you can all succeed in school. Ultimately, you can’t control the success of others, but employers value the desire to serve others and succeed together.

Want to learn more about trade school, including what you can expect in class and shop? Schedule a tour to visit Apex.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Nikola Tesla appears on a US stamp for his alternating current induction motor, which outperforms Edison’s direct current.

Tesla vs. Edison: Who Had the Better Electrical Career?

Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla were contemporaries, and even rivals, as inventors in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. In fact, Tesla was even an employee of Edison early in his career.

While there’s no doubt that Thomas Edison had a more financially prosperous career as an inventor, historians and engineers could argue that Tesla’s innovative electrical ideas make him the better inventor. Let’s review his accomplishments and career to find out how he impacted today’s electrical industry.

Alternating Current vs. Direct Current

Easily Tesla’s most important electrical contribution, the alternating current (AC) rivaled the direct current (DC) used in Edison’s power plants. Direct current was invented in 1800 by Alessandro Volta and evolved slowly over the years, becoming an everyday utility with Edison’s invention of the household lightbulb in 1882. Direct current refers to the flow of electricity in only one direction and is used by the following:

  • Batteries
  • Power supplies
  • Solar cells

While he was studying math and physics at the Technical University of Graz in 1882, Tesla came up with an alternating current idea. After moving to the United States, working at Edison’s headquarters, and his alternating current idea being rejected by Edison, Tesla pursued AC on his own. While AC had been invented in 1884, Tesla designed and invented an induction motor, which became today’s commonly used three-phase form. The difference between AC and DC is that DC is usually contained within a cell like a battery, and can be drained, while AC electricity flows in both directions and is used when you plug an appliance into an outlet.

With alternative currents the standard today, and considered more efficient than direct current, Tesla’s AC can be called the superior electrical invention. He had the foresight to pursue this complex form of electrical conduction, while Edison dismissed the invention, considering it unworthy of pursuit. As LiveScience explains, “Tesla’s inventions are the backbone of modern power.”

What Held Tesla Back?

LiveScience continues to explain that many of Tesla’s inventions did not outlive him, and he was unsuccessful financially. While extremely intelligent, notes his obvious mental illness, which resulted in debilitating obsessions. Additionally, financial backing was difficult to come by for Tesla’s large-scale innovations.


But despite mental and financial instability, Tesla’s legacy lives on, and his electrical genius cannot be discredited or overshadowed by the business success of Edison.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.


Women in trades equipped for construction success

Why Women Are Well-Equipped for Trade-Based Careers

In the male-dominant fields of trade-based careers, women in trades can face doubts about their careers. You might wonder if you’ll be able to succeed, or if anyone will take you seriously.

With the right training and commitment to the trade, we believe women are uniquely equipped to succeed in trades like HVAC, automotive repair, plumbing and more. And we believe they should be given equal opportunity to bring their strengths to the trade.

If you’re considering vocational school or wondering about trade careers for women, use the following as motivation to pursue your dreams.

The trade customer is often female.

In her article for The Boston Globe Women gearing up for careers in the auto industry, Katie Johnston notes that female car drivers outnumber men. And for in-home trade services, such as HVAC, construction, and plumbing, the resident at home during the time of service is often female.

With an audience largely female, female trade service providers can make their female customers feel more comfortable with the service and repair process. This can often mean more return and referral-based business for the company, simply because its customers become more comfortable understanding the repairs and having the tradeswoman in their homes and cars.

Women can flourish in male-dominant fields.

In her Boston Globe article, Johnston also calls out tradeswomen’s abilities to:

  • Communicate
  • Pay attention to detail
  • Solve problems

Women are uniquely equipped to succeed in both service-oriented and problem-based trades, due to their ability to see details, analyze situations, and communicate solutions. Women in trades, particularly at the beginning of their careers, may feel pressure to conform, or even leave the field. But when they fully understand their innate potential for success, they can set their goals higher and ignore any noise that gets in their way. They can even begin to educate nay-sayers about the strengths of women in trades, creating opportunities for more females to join and further improve trade careers for women.

Mentorship from another female can help women succeed.

Because of the communication and problem-solving skills mentioned above, women make ideal mentors to those new to the industry. If possible, find a woman in your trade, and ask her to mentor you. Even if you aren’t already close, she’s likely to say yes to helping another woman succeed in the industry.

A female mentor can help you do the following as you navigate your potential in a trade career:

  • Better understand and use your strengths
  • Set expectations around female stereotypes
  • Learn how to respond to difficult situations
  • Communicate effectively in a male-dominant field
  • Set attainable goals that lead to career success

Resources for Women in Trades

As you work toward success and improving trade careers for women, we recommend pursuing resources that will help you at all steps of your journey – education, networking, job searching, and career advancement. Explore these resources, based on your trade of interest:


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.
Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Repairs using technology and automotive industry trends

Auto Body Industry Trends

From auto body repair needs to optional cosmetics, the auto body industry draws all levels of interest, from those in the industry to those simply passionate about cars. Wherever you lie on the spectrum, here are a few newsworthy trends driving the field forward.

Laser Headlights

Laser headlights have been at the top of the trends, with BMW and Audi as the leaders, and in 2017, notes that they’re now legal in the U.S. – and a requirement for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Top Safety Pick+ award. Laser high and low lights are considered more efficient and effective than LEDs. They will start to become more prevalent throughout the industry as manufacturers strive to keep up with competitors in safety and efficiency.

While auto shops that specialize in the collision repair industry may have to work hard to keep up with the advanced technology and communication systems of today’s vehicles, the opportunities created by collision technology look positive.

According to’s analysis of Thatcham research firm’s predictions, autonomous vehicles and collision avoidance technology will decrease the severity of damage caused by collisions. However, while these technologies decrease severity, they will not eliminate collisions. Instead, they will cause a decrease of “totaled” cars (which are never repaired) and thus an increase in cars involved in collisions needing repairs. This should be good news for both car owners who want to increase the longevity of their vehicles and auto body businesses who want to capitalize on fewer totaled cars and more repairs.

Tesla Increases Opportunities for Body Shops

As an automotive brand known for its cutting edge innovations, Tesla is making it possible for more auto body shops to join its network, diversifying the Tesla repair market. According to, Tesla requires its partner shops to complete on-site training, but it will be adding an online training option and plans to prioritize adding 300 body shops to its network shortly.

This initiative creates more opportunity for local auto body shops to serve Tesla drivers, and it provides Tesla drivers with a greater variety of accessible choices when in need of a repair.

Car Body Paint Colors Retreat From Technology

Car body paint trends can be indicative of the consumers’ overall interests and needs, and we see this more than ever in today’s color trends.

In its 2018-19 automotive color palettes, PPG reports the consumers’ desire to connect with nature through the colors of their cars, even as they buy into more advanced automotive technology. Two of four palettes reflect this theme, with IM Perfect focused on organic shades influenced by nature and Lucid Dreams reflecting calmness and a refuge from technology overload.

Today’s drivers are hooked on the latest technology, and as a result, they crave the natural.

Greater Need for Auto Body Upkeep and Repair

When you compare the condition of cars on the road today to those 20 years ago, you’ll notice a major difference: the standard in the appearance of cars has risen. People care about the image of their cars more than ever. Fewer people are willing to drive cars with body paint missing, rust patches, and mismatched parts.

While there will always be the occasional sore thumb, this is more good news for the automotive collision repair industry. An increased focus on appearance can lead to a greater need for auto body upkeep and repair, particularly by those trained to provide quality work.

Where do you think the automotive field will go next? Stay tuned for more trends and news.

Want to take your interest in cars to the next level? Explore the Auto Body Repair program at Apex.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Working students pursuing their trade career goals

How to Balance Work and Trade School

Being a working student is a demanding lifestyle, so prioritizing balance is essential. As you prepare to take on your career goals, you can add some habits to your life that will help you with balancing school and work. If you’re working full time and going to trade school, try these time management techniques.

Trim down your list of priorities

If you’re adding a full course load to your already busy schedule, you will need to make some small changes. An education in a new trade is worth it, and making intentional changes will help you carry through. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Make a list of all the ways you spend your time throughout a typical week. Categorize each one into categories such as the following:
    • Work
    • Entertainment
    • Eating
    • Family/Friends
    • Rest/Sleep
    • Household Duties
    • Travel
  2. Next to each category, estimate how many hours per week you spend in each category. You might be surprised how much time you spend in some.
  3. Create a new Category, “School,” with 0 hours.
  4. Rank the importance of each category (1 being of highest important and 7 being of lowest importance).
  5. Starting with the lowest-ranked category, determine how many hours you can take from that category to add to the new category of School. This step may take some discussion with your family or roommates so they can help you stay on track and fill in if you need to take away some time spent doing household duties.
  6. Continue reducing hours from the low-priority categories until you’ve accumulated enough class and study time for your School category.

Set expectations with your circle of support.

Now that you’ve determined what lifestyle changes you’ll need to make to achieve your goals, it’s time to seek accountability and support from your closest friends and family. Let them know that until you’ve completed your trade school program, you’re trying to balance school and work, and you’ll need to reduce some of the time you spend with them. Your true support system will be eager to help and see you achieve your goals. Let them know exactly what you plan to sacrifice during your time in school, and ask them to understand and hold you accountable.

You should also have a candid conversation with your current managers at work. Let them know that you are pursuing an education, and ask about any schedule changes you’ll need to accommodate your trade school program. A good manager will understand that you’re trying to advance your career and want to help you achieve your goals.

Stay motivated

When you’re taking on a lifestyle change and striving to transform your career, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. When you’re overwhelmed, you’re more likely to procrastinate or spend time worrying about your future. This will get in the way of your progress, and it will accumulate as wasted time, so it’s essential that you avoid stress as much as possible. Read this article to get tips for staying motivated.

Are you ready to make some changes so you can achieve your career goals? Being a working student is something you’ll be proud of once you transform your career.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

S-shape pipe for toilet, designed by famous plumber Alexander Cummings for the plumbing trade

5 Plumbing Trade Lessons from Famous Plumbers

The plumbing trade is full of famous plumbers who built up their careers like you’re working to do. Use these tips to start your career off on the right foot, and aim to take the trade even further.

  1. Sir John Harrington: More is not always better.

  2. As noted in our history of the plumbing trade article, Sir John Harrington invented the first flushable toilet. His toilet could accommodate up to 20 people between flushes, was two-feet deep, and required an in-house cistern to provide 7.5 gallons of water to flush. While the toilet’s size allowed for greater efficiency through a lower number of flushes per person, it did not catch on. Harrington discovered that it was difficult to dispose of the quantity of waste.

    As many in the plumbing trade learn, sanitation and comfort should not be sacrificed for efficiency and quantity.

  3. Alexander Cumming: Seals are essential.

  4. Alexander Cumming invented the S-shaped pipe that connects the toilet bowl to the sewer path. The S-shape creates a water seal that prevents sewer gases from entering the bowl. These toxic and nontoxic gases, while unlikely to cause harm, can lead homeowners to contact someone in the plumbing trade due to an unpleasant smell.

    It’s essential to check for proper seals in all pipe systems. Scents aren’t signs of plumbing danger, but they can point to smaller issues that can make homeowners unhappy.

  5. Thomas Crapper: Your name matters.

  6. While Thomas Crapper did not invent the toilet, his name is the source of the American slang term for the toilet. Because he was successful at his job, his name became synonymous with the plumbing fixture he helped optimize.

    When entering the plumbing trade, remember that your name matters. Customers will remember you, whether you do a good or bad job, and they can either recommend you to their friends, or steer their friends away from you. It’s essential that you prove your integrity. Your name and reputation can quickly expand beyond your control – for better or worse.

  7. Philip Haas: Use your experience to innovate.

  8. Philip Haas made several improvements to plumbing devices, greatly advancing the trade, including:

    • Frost-proof toilets: He moved the water supply for toilets located in unheated areas to below the frost line.
    • Commercial flush valve design: He patented the first metal toggle knob to improve operation efficiency.
    • Rim flushing: He invented the method of toilet flushing in which water beneath the bowl rim rinses the sides of the bowl and flushes the toilet at the same time.

    Haas started his career in the plumbing trade simply; he went into business with his brother and branched into contracting and supplying. Because of his experience in the trade, he saw how plumbing could be improved. Use your own experience in school and the trade to improve the plumbing industry with your own ideas. What starts as a small question could lead to an influential discovery.

  9. White House Plumbers: Always practice ethical business

While plumbers only in the figurative sense, this group of Nixon White House employees involved in Watergate offer important lessons for those in the plumbing trade. The White House Plumbers’ jobs were to stop confidential information from leaking to the press. To address these leaks, the Plumbers were involved in a burglary and illegal intelligence gathering.

You may encounter difficult situations in the plumbing industry. You may discover that a homeowner’s leak is much bigger than it first appeared; or that the leak is causing problems that will require involving other trade professionals. While this news may be disappointing, the homeowner will ultimately value your honesty and integrity. Always do what’s best in the long-term, rather than only plugging seemingly small leaks.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Materials for a construction class that can give a student inspiration to study

5 Motivational Strategies for Students in Technical School

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by your future? Do you get discouraged from achieving your career goals? You are not alone. When motivation runs low, it’s essential to stay focused on what matters. Use these simple strategies to feel motivated more frequently – and work through the times when you don’t.

  1. Remember why you’re here.
  2. Your motivation for studying and completing your program go beyond simply starting or advancing your career. Did you decide to go to school so you could do something you care about every day? Or maybe it’s so you can provide a better life for your family. Whatever the reason, write it down on a few sticky notes, and place them somewhere you will see them often – on your desk, computer, dashboard, or refrigerator. Remind yourself why the small things you do today can make a difference to your future.

  3. Set mini-goals.
  4. Completing an educational program and starting or switching careers can feel overwhelming because they might take more than a few weeks or months to attain. Set short-term goals that can symbolize your progress and give you inspiration to study along the way. Short-term goals could include:

    • Mastering one new skill
    • Asking your instructor for help with one topic
    • Hosting a study group
    • Improving your grade on an exam or in a course
    • Sticking to a study schedule
    • Attending every class

    As you set a few short-term goals that are easier to attain, you’ll be able to mark your progress toward achieving your long-term goal. Notice the progress you’re making every day so you can gain extra motivation for studying and achieving your goal.

  5. Tell someone about your long- and short-term goals.
  6. By talking to people about your goals, you can build a team of supporters who want to see you succeed. You might feel vulnerable talking about your goals at first; that’s a sign that you’re being honest about something that matters to you. When those around you – your family, friends, and instructors – understand what you want to achieve, they can help you along the way. Your family can be understanding when you need to spend time in school, your friends can encourage you, and your instructors can hold you accountable. Share your long- and short-term goals so you have a community of support during this time of transition.

  7. Reward the small victories.
  8. You’re likely making some sacrifices to achieve your goals. You might be spending less time with your family and friends, spending more time in the shop or classroom, and investing in your education. While sacrifices are necessary to make life changes, it can be difficult for students to stay motivated when they place too many limitations on themselves. Remember to celebrate when you achieve any of the mini-goals on your list. Whether it’s treating yourself to your favorite restaurant or taking a relaxing walk, small rewards can mark your progress and keep you motivated to work toward the next reward.

  9. Ask for help
  10. Sometimes, you do everything you can to stay motivated to study and achieve your goals, and you still feel overwhelmed. When this happens, it’s time to reach out to your community of support. Explain your feelings to your family and friends. Ask your coworkers to take an extra shift for you. Ask your instructors for help with the materials, equipment, or concepts. Your community cares about you and wants to see you succeed. Asking for help shows that you are truly committed to achieving your goals. It shows that you’ve set goals worthy of achieving.

Try these motivational strategies for a week. See if you feel more motivated to reaching your goals, and better-equipped to achieve them.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Student learns tungsten inert gas welding techniques

How Many Types of Welding Should I Learn?

If you’re considering starting a career in the – welding field, you might be wondering why there are so many types of welding, and how many you should learn. Different types of welding are used depending on the following factors:

  • Tools available
  • Type of metal you’re welding
  • Timeline and setting of the project
  • Quality needed
  • Budget available

To serve a wide range of clients, individuals in the – welding field learn different types of welding. And while there may be more than 30 types of welding, the following are “the more common.”

Oxyacetylene Welding

One of the oldest types of welding, oxyacetylene welding is usually used for maintenance and repair. By combining oxygen and acetylene gas in high pressure, a welder uses a gas-fueled, high-temperature flame. Temperature and pressure can be easily controlled, and this type of welding can be conducted nearly anywhere, including outside. The flame can melt a variety of materials around it, providing a simple process for welding multiple metal types together.

Shielded Metal Arc Welding

A popular form of welding, shielded metal arc welding starts with an electric current that passes through an electrode conductor and stick, and forms an electric arc between the stick and the metal you’re welding. The metals melt and cool together, and the electrode forms a slag, or byproduct, that protects the weld from the atmosphere. Shielded metal arc welds can be done in one or more passes, and in more than one direction.

Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG and MAG Welding)

Metal inert gas (MIG) welding and metal active gas (MAG) welding use a welding gun to create an electric arc between a wire electrode and the metal you’re welding. As in shielded metal arc welding, a shield forms around the process, this time a gas shield, protecting the weld from contamination. Gas metal arc welding is known for its speed and effectiveness on steel and industrial welds. These welds must be conducted inside because of the use of gas.

Flux Cored Arc Welding

A purifying agent, flux is used to create a protectant shield around an arc weld. Flux cored arc welding is powered by a current, and sometimes combined with a gas shield. Like in shielded metal arc welds, flux cored arc welds form a slag, but they do not require the stick conductor. It’s popular in construction because of its portability.

Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (TIG Welding)

Also known as tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, gas tungsten arc welding uses a tungsten electrode conductor powered by electricity. As with gas metal arc welding, a shielding gas protects the weld, which often involves adding a filler metal rather than simply welding existing metals together. Gas tungsten arc welding allows individuals in the welding field to weld stainless steel, aluminum, magnesium, and copper in a precise manner. It’s a slower process because of its difficulty and precision, but it holds strongly.

Plasma Arc Cutting

By moving the electrode inside the welding torch used for gas tungsten arc welding, you can use the plasma arc welding technique. The plasma gas reaches higher speeds and creates higher temperatures, allowing metal to be cut cleanly and affordably. This method of metal cutting can be used for a wide variety of jobs, from industrial to small and personal.

These six types of welding are important for individuals wanting to learn the welding trade. By learning these methods in a hands-on atmosphere, you can gain an applicable entry-level base of welding knowledge.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

A team of two welders work together in a hands-on shop class to gain experiential learning skills for the workforce

4 Benefits of Hands-On Learning

Are you wondering if hands-on learning works? Adults who choose hands-on learning can reap the following benefits, from a faster education to resume-worthy in school lab/shop experience.

1. Take only the classes you need.

Hands-on training programs focus primarily on preparing you for a career. The program curriculum is developed to help build your real-world skill set. You don’t have to take general classes that are not relevant to your choice of trade (i.e. History, Art) which slow down your education and distract you from starting your career.

2. Acquire the skills you need faster.

Hands-on training allow adults to learn real-world trade skills. When lectures are combined with shop and project work, you’re able to immediately apply your knowledge to job-related tasks. Hands-on learning allows you to experiment with what you learn in the classroom, solve real problems, and therefore retain your learnings faster.

3. Discover your interests before you start working.

You’ve heard the stories, maybe from one of your own friends: They’ve known what they wanted to be since they were 10, they work hard to pay for and graduate from a four-year college, and they get their dream job. After a year – maybe even less – they realize that they don’t love it, and they’re not sure how to get out of it.

Years of educational study can sometimes trap you into a career you’re not passionate about. Short-term hands-on learning programs allow you to not only start working faster but also find out if you enjoy the job while you’re still in school. Labs and shop settings introduce you to how it feels to do the work you’re training for, providing early confirmation that you chose the right trade.

4. Gain resume-worthy experience while you’re in school.

As you consider training programs, you’re probably wondering how you can start a new career without any experience. Your future career can benefit from hands-on learning experience doing the tasks an entry-level job requires of you.  Remember, you can add lab and shop experience to your resume, even if it happened in school or you weren’t paid to do it. These valuable experiences could set you apart from other entry-level job candidates.

Embrace the opportunity of hands-on learning, and start the path toward a career you’ll enjoy.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Auto body repair professional paints car parts with modern auto body tools, evolved from the early technique of using a brush

History of Auto Mechanics & Body

Early Invention: 1800s

The history of auto mechanics began in 1800s Europe with the creation of the first cars. According to, Europeans perfected the first modern automobile by 1901. These late-1800s makers of cars can be considered the first auto mechanics. They engineered, designed, and built the first successful automobiles, launching a trade for likeminded individuals in centuries to come.

Because the early European automobiles were advanced – compared to American automobiles – but not standardized, car owners faced the difficult task of finding people who could repair this just-invented machine. Mostly upper-classmen, lucky automobile owners could find a driver who also had specialized knowledge in maintaining cars.

These drivers/mechanics not only saved their employers from car-repair headaches; they also played an important role in merging the gap between the upper and lower class. According to the International Association of Mechanists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), upper-class car-owners recognized the specialized knowledge of their drivers, opening up a new level of pay and privilege for carriage drivers and footmen willing to learn the trade.

Standardization: Early 1900s credits American Henry Ford with perfecting efficient automobile-making. While Ford vehicles weren’t as advanced as European cars, the standardized parts allowed them to be faster to make and cheaper to buy, introducing the automobile to a new market.

As more and more automobiles were produced and put into use, dealerships and private businesses began offering mechanic services. And with standardized parts, the auto mechanic trade became easier to learn.

IAM explains that competition grew quickly between mechanic businesses – and even individual mechanics – as most were paid by the hour. The most experienced mechanics worked faster, resulting in lower costs to the owner and more business for the mechanic or dealer.

Market Stagnation: 1930s to Mid-Century

As the Great Depression hit, auto sales declined, and the market – including auto maintenance and production – was pressed to continue making a profit despite its inability to evolve until demand increased.

During this time of still-early car maintenance, one of the most popular and noticed auto body tools, paint, was often handled by the owner. According to, paint on early- to mid-1900s automobiles was far less durable than the paints available today. Therefore, cars needed frequent touch-ups for protection from the elements. Car owners would paint their automobiles by hand with brushes. Runs and finish imperfections were common even on cars directly out of the assembly line, so owners had little reason to hire an individual auto body mechanic to conduct paint repairs.

The Split of Auto Mechanics and Auto Body: Mid-Century

To resist market stagnation and the do-it-yourself mindset around auto body repair, notes that Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., is responsible for the focus on automobile style. With a plan to drive new-car demand, Sloan essentially created the cosmetic side of the auto body industry by creating the market’s desire to have the latest, most fashionable model of an automobile. Those who couldn’t afford the latest model, however, considered alternatives to achieving a higher level of automobile style, making way for the auto body repair industry. From this point forward, -individuals in the auto industry could begin to focus on auto body or auto mechanics (or both), creating a lasting split in the industry.

Constant Advancement to the Present Day

With automobiles continuing to advance, and the industry continuing to grow in America, the changes in the auto mechanics and body repair industry are largely driven by technology. As the vehicles become more advanced, efficient, powerful, and long-living, auto mechanics working in the field are constantly learning.


The automotive repair industry has grown to include the following focus areas:

  • Engine expertise
  • Chassis work and repair tools
  • Transmissions, axels, drive shafts, and torque converters
  • Electrical circuits
  • Fuel types and systems
  • Diagnostics

Similarly, auto body repair continues to advance as styles and tools evolve. Auto body focuses on:

  • Preparing a vehicle for repair
  • Welding and glass
  • Part alignment and laser equipment
  • Plastic retexturing
  • Primer, cleaning guns
  • Paint mixing, application, and buffing

With auto-travel continuing to dominate American society, auto mechanics and body repair continue to advance as trade and career choices for those passionate about vehicles, from operation to style.

Want to take your interest in cars to the next level? Explore the Automotive Service and Repair program at Apex.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Tradesmen exhibiting teamwork leadership skills while working

5 Leadership Skills Employers Look For

It’s a common misconception that leadership belongs only to the executives and manager of a company. In fact, those people in management likely started developing their leadership skills at the same time they started their careers – the same place you are now.

Leadership skills can be considered synonymous with employability skills; employers want every person they hire to have well-honed leadership skills, no matter what job they’re hired for. Employees who master the skills of successful leaders can contribute to taking the company further, staying with the company longer, and growing their careers faster, so it’s a win-win for the employee and the employer.

Learn about the leadership skills you can start developing today, and get tips on how to begin.

  1. Team-Oriented

  2. Employers look for people who exhibit a desire to work with others. Even if your job requires you to work alone much of the time, you’ll likely need to work with a manager or small team for some critical tasks. Team orientation means you:

    • See the value in understanding perspectives other than your own
    • Are trainable and eager to learn from others in the field
    • Are willing to train others in skills you’ve already mastered

    To start honing a team orientation, look for opportunities to work with others, such as group projects at school, family decisions, and groups within any organizations you’re a part of, like a gym, church, or volunteer group. Make an effort to listen to the other people in your group, and help facilitate healthy conversation when conflicts arise. Make decisions that meet the needs of everyone in the group, and delegate work equally between team members. Once you’ve started consciously honing these skills, you can add your team-building experiences to your resume, even if you haven’t had a chance to practice them on the job.

  3. Open to Feedback

  4. An effective and well-liked leader is someone who considers the opinions of everyone involved, including teammates, managers, and those in training.You can build this skill before you even begin your career by adopting an attitude of humility. Share your opinion, but be sure to also seek out the opinions of those around you. Seeking feedback can not only help you grow but also help you make decisions for the greater good. Employers want to know that they’re hiring people who are willing to listen and make sacrifices for the good of the company.

  5. Honest

  6. Good leaders are confident in their integrity; they know they are always doing their best work, and they want what’s right for their team and company. Therefore, they’re humble enough to admit their mistakes. They’re committed enough to start difficult conversations. Leadership does not mean covering up problems or always going with the flow. It means providing honest feedback and owning your actions so the team can learn and grow.

  7. Entrepreneurial

  8. Having an entrepreneurial spirit doesn’t mean you need to invent something or start a business; it simply means you look for ways to improve things. Entrepreneurial ideas can include new ways to:

    • Make processes more efficient
    • Improve a product or academic assignment
    • Learn about a topic

    Ultimately, having an entrepreneurial attitude means you want to make experiences better and more efficient for everyone involved. To develop these leadership skills, start thinking about your everyday routines. How can you make them more efficient and enjoyable – for you and your family, friends, peers, or coworkers?

  9. Passionate

  10. Leaders must be passionate about their work. In order to keep honing all of the skills listed above throughout their careers, they must be excited to do their jobs every day. Be sure the career you choose offers a growth path that appeals to you. What can you do to get promoted? Are there learning opportunities for experienced employees? Learning often ignites passion, and your education doesn’t stop when your career begins. Always look for opportunities to learn new skills that can continue to motivate you toward leadership success.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

HVAC working fixing an air conditioning unit

The History of the HVAC Industry

While the HVAC trade as we know it today is defined as mechanical systems that help heat, ventilate, and cool (air conditioning) buildings, the modern HVAC system stems from centuries of innovation. Find out how humans first started heating and cooling their buildings, and how HVAC has evolved into an advanced mechanical trade.

The History of Heating

While the timeframe is disputed, humans mastered fire at their earliest existence, with clear evidence dating back to 125,000 years ago. It was, and remains, humanity’s primary source of heat, whether it be through lighting a fire in a cave or igniting a modern gas-powered heating system.

Evidence points to ancient Greece as responsible for first using the heat-power of fire to create a central heating system. They built flues (a duct or pipe) underneath buildings that spread the heat created by fire throughout the buildings. The Roman Empire advanced the Greeks’ heating system work by building furnaces, which magnified the heat created by fire, and transferring it through pipes underneath floors and inside walls.

As with the Roman Empire’s heavy influence on the history of plumbing, the Empire’s fall caused a delay in the innovation of the history of heating. During the medieval era, buildings were heated mainly by fireplaces, with some highly efficient heating systems powered by furnaces still in existence. Small modifications were made to make the primitive fireplace more efficient, according to, including reducing the size and installing metal plates inside the hood to keep hot air in and cold air out.

In the 1700s, hot air was used to centrally heat buildings through pipes in the walls. However, radiators soon began to take over the heating trade, starting with steam radiators and evolving into hot water radiators. In the 1900s, homes began to receive heat in every room rather than only one or two heat-equipped rooms. Boilers that powered radiator heating systems made this possible around the world.

Now, we have heating systems that can also be powered by electricity, solar energy, or even local geothermal heat.

The History of Air Conditioning

As fire has remained the primary source of heating, water has been humanity’s primary source of cooling. When water evaporates, it has a cooling effect, which was discovered by ancient Egyptians. They hung wet reeds in windows, allowing the air that blew into the room to cause water evaporation and, thus, inside air cooling.

Other ancient societies developed cooling systems, including the ancient Romans whose aqueducts transferred cool water through walls. China saw the invention of the water-powered fan as early as the 2nd century.

Mechanical refrigeration, cites, began in the mid-1800s with the invention of an ice-making machine. Motivated by the idea that cool air could benefit sick patients, American Dr. John Gorrie invented a machine that powered a compressor by steam, wind, water, or horse and successfully made ice. His invention, which was an important development in the history of refrigeration, was never adopted publicly.

Willis Carrier is credited with inventing the first modern air conditioner in 1902. While searching for a way to control humidity, Carrier designed a cooling and heating machine, which could dehumidify and humidify air.

Cooling systems began to be widely embraced by the public in the 1920s when public movie theaters adopted the distribution of cold air through floor and ceiling vents. While these systems were widely implemented in public spaces, they were too large to be added to individual homes until the 1930s when General Electric optimized a “self-contained room cooler,” according to This quickly led to the creation of the window air conditioning unit.

By the 1960s and 1970s, central cooling had been improved and downsized to be added to most homes, leading to a drastic rise in energy usage. Energy conservation and efficiency has since been an important part of the HVAC trade, affecting the way recent HVAC system history has developed.

The Modern HVAC Trade

While the history of heating and the history of refrigeration and air conditioning developed separately, the heating and cooling fields have merged as homes and buildings are often able to share one system for both purposes. And as humidity can lead to warmth, and dryness can lead to coolness, the field requires a good understanding of how water can affect temperature. Those in the modern HVAC industry can focus on some areas in the field including:

  • How electricity powers major appliances like refrigerators
  • Cooling systems powered by vapor compressions
  • Commercial air conditioning systems
  • Gas-fired heating systems
  • Electrically-powered heating systems

Heating and cooling has become a central part of modern society, allowing us to achieve optimal comfort in our buildings. You can learn more about how society has pursued building comfort in this article about the history of construction.


Now that you know some HVAC history, consider pursuing the trade. Learn more about the Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Appliance/Controls program at Apex.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Welder performing electric arc and combination welding

The History of the Welding Industry

Welding joins two pieces of material together through high energy. Usually, an extra material is used to join the two pieces, or bases, together. The extra material is often added to make the weld stronger than the base metals so the weld will hold. Find out how the history of welding started, and how types of welding have changed over the centuries.

The Bronze and Iron Ages (3000 BC – 700 AD)

Welding began simply as forging, any way of forcing two metals or materials together in a solid state. The earliest examples of welding come from the prehistoric Bronze and Iron Ages, during which people heavily used bronze, iron, and steel to create tools and, eventually, structures. Forge welding was often used to make the cutting edges of anything made out of steel stronger. Common ways of forging metals together are by heating, hammering, and/or pressing surfaces together, which are all still done today.

The Rise and Fall of the Blacksmith (1500s – 1800s)

Blacksmithing, one of the types of welding, involves hammering, bending, and cutting the metal. While blacksmiths existed in the prehistoric era, they became even more mainstream in the Medieval period, when every town would have its own blacksmith.

Before the industrial revolution, when modern welding methods were invented, blacksmiths were commonly considered the experts for creating and fixing any broken tools or hardware. Blacksmiths are known for heating metal in fire fueled by charcoal (and later, but not as preferably, coal) to make or repair the following items:

  • Gates
  • Metal appliances
  • Doorknobs
  • Horseshoes
  • Metal tools
  • Weapons
  • Decorative metalwork

Blacksmithing still exists as a career, but the 1800s saw the invention of electrically-generated heat that made welding a less labor-intensive process.

Electric Arc Welding (1800 – Present)

According to, blacksmithing has been replaced by electric arc welding, which involves conducting electricity through a piece of metal to create an arc of electricity near the welding surface. The electrical arc heats the surface, making it possible to weld. While Sir Humphry Davy discovered the first electrical arc in 1800, strong resistance to this new type of welding lasted a century.

As the industrial revolution continued, construction became a main resistor of using welding. notes that because they used rivets to fasten materials together, construction companies did not consider welding a necessity. In the 1900s, architects and engineers began to realize the limitations placed on structures that solely used rivets. By creating stronger, continuously welded steel beams, welders could free up space by simplifying the structure of the building. Lincoln Electric, with an architectural firm, erected “the first commercial building wholly constructed from arc-welded steel” in 1928: the Upper Carnegie Building in Cleveland.

Now, welders can even create continuous beams with curves and unique angles, making the once difficult task of connecting structural pieces simple.

Combination Welding

From welding iron to stone using a fire and pressure, to using electrical arcs to create stronger skyskrapers, welding has come a long way. Today, individuals in the welding field are often known as combination welders. Combination welding includes the following areas:

  • Blueprint reading and creation
  • Maintenance and repair techniques
  • Simple to complex levels of arc welding

With a rich history in methods and uses, the welding trade continues to flourish as a viable modern career option.


Discover more interesting facts and welding skills at Apex. Learn about our Welding program.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

The Parthenon, in Athens Greece, represents construction management history

Construction History Through the Centuries

Construction is one of the first necessary trades in human history. When did construction begin? Starting with the Stone Age and moving to today’s advanced construction practices, find out how humans started the construction trade, and how construction management history has transformed.

The New Stone Age (9000 BC – 3000 BC) notes that humanity needs construction to survive its environments. As one of the basic human needs, shelter allows us to adapt to changing climates, which in turn allow us to populate much of the earth that would be otherwise inaccessible.

During the Neolithic Age, also known as the New Stone Age, people pursued construction as much as they could, without the use of wood working. They made tools from mud, grass, stone, wood, and animal remains such as hide, tusks, and bone. These tools allowed them to build simple structures like temporary huts, tents, stone monuments, and tombs.

As prehistory advanced to the Bronze Age, copper and bronze allowed tool creation to advance. Durable, sharper saws allowed rocks to be more easily cut. While construction existed as a necessity for every human to survive during these periods, the advancement of tools made way for what would soon become a successful specialized trade, and the history of construction tools evolved.

The Iron Age (1200 BC – 700 BC)

With the end of the Bronze Age, our history of construction timeline pushes forward. During the Iron Age, iron and the even stronger steel gave way to a new tool: the first plane, which allowed for fine wood-shaping and, therefore, more complex structures. While civilizations advanced at different rates, here are some major accomplishments from across the globe during this time:

  • China:
    • Built the Great Wall of China with wood, earth, stone, and mortar
  • Egypt:
    • Credited with having the first recorded architect, Imhotep
    • Constructed pyramids from an abundant supply of stone, dragged from quarries to the construction site
  • Greece:
    • Build stone-frame temples inspired by Egypt’s use of stone construction
    • Independent skilled masons focused on detail were hired to build the Parthenon
  • Roman Empire:
    • Made the first true stone arch and created a major industry out of brickmaking
    • Advanced timber technology by mastering trusses
    • Created advanced pipe systems, including the Roman aqueducts

The Middle Ages and Renaissance (4000 – 1700)

While Rome experienced a decline in construction progress following its fall, Europe experienced some advances during the Middle Ages, including the fireplace and chimney. This advancement in the history of building construction led to the partitioning of homes into several rooms heated by individual fireplaces.

With the rise of the Italian Renaissance, the construction trade began to make the important distinction between designer and builder. This separation allowed each role to develop greater depth of expertise. With a greater-than-ever focus on appearance, Romans displayed their religious and cultural pride through arches and domes, particularly on churches. These stylistic choices allowed Romans to heavily influence construction and architecture across Europe, spreading all the way to England’s St. Paul Cathedral.

The Industrial Revolutions (1600-1900)

Construction history continued onward. The first industrial revolution in the late 1600s was a result of the creation of large-scale iron production. Iron, particularly cast iron, was readily available to construct new building frames and strengthen existing ones. Glass also began to be manufactured, but many limitations still existed, such as a continued dependence on wood for cranes and scaffolding.

Progress accelerated in the 1800s, the most commonly referenced industrial revolution, sparked by electricity and railroads. Wrought iron structures improved, allowing the invention of high-rise buildings. Some advancements included the use of brick casing to protect the iron structures from heat caused by potential fires, and foundations filled with concrete to support the heavier loads. Electric elevators allowed for easy transportation through buildings, and daylight could be supplemented by electric light. Internal-combustion engines manufactured power the construction trade had yet to see.

Modern Construction

With continued advancements in high-rise construction and architecture, modern building practices are complex but still call back to construction throughout history. Critical construction roles and areas include the following:

  • Carpentry
  • Electrical conductors and circuit breakers
  • Plumbing systems
  • Lighting
  • Remodeling
  • Framing of walls, ceilings, floors, doors, windows, and roofs
  • Construction management

As the practical and technical details of construction have been refined over the centuries, today’s construction focuses on the comfort of its structures’ occupants. Interior function and aesthetic are valued more than ever, widening the construction industry to include principles of design. Additionally, indoor plumbing and electricity can be considered a subfield of construction because of how critical they have become to the design, value, and function of a structure.

As style and mastery evolves, construction history will do the same, allowing individuals in the field to explore areas of interest and provide the best interior and exterior structures for their customers.

Want to take your interest in building to the next level? Explore the Construction & Building Skills program at Apex.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

A legendary bridge over water to show the history of the plumbing industry

The History of the Plumbing Industry

The plumbing trade is advanced – commonly believed to be founded by the Romans’ legendary water bridges. If you’re wondering if you should start to learn plumbing – or how to become a plumber – start with the fascinating history of plumbing below.

It Started With the Roman Empire (27 BC – 1453 AD)

While small evolutions to plumbing happened in Babylonia starting in 3000 B.C., the Romans were the first to build elaborate systems that could transport water in and out of cities. By building aqueducts, or water bridges that conveyed water (see picture), the Romans could bring water from mountain springs to supply their cities on the dry plains.

Rome’s sewer system was revolutionary for waste disposal. According to Classics professor Peter Aicher in an interview with PBS, sewers hidden underground “took aqueduct overflow and flushed the refuse into the river.” Previous civilizations simply put waste next to the streets or let it drain away from their houses.

Aicher explained that the Romans were focused on clean water sources. Not only would they search for underground springs to connect their aqueducts to using tunnels, but they would also be able to reroute muddied water from lakes after a storm to places that needed water for industrial or irrigation uses, “where cleanliness was not as important.”

Once water arrived in the city via the aqueduct’s gravity system, it was stored in closed tanks or water towers, Aicher said, usually in one of the highest spots in the city. These tanks were the storage point between the open aqueducts and the closed piping delivery system. Only the wealthiest citizens had private pipes, so most of the piped water was delivered under the streets and back up to fountains, Rome’s well-known giant baths, and public water basins.

The First Flushable Toilet (1500s AD)

While the Romans did extend their innovations to public restrooms, their toilets were not typically connected to the sewage system, Julie Beck said in an article for The Atlantic, for fear of contamination. And because many plumbing innovations halted at the fall of the Empire, the first flushable toilet was not designed until the Elizabethan era, long before indoor plumbing.

Nate Barksdale, for, described the first flushable toilet, invented by courtier Sir John Harrington:

  • It was a two-foot-deep waterproof oval bowl.
  • An in-house cistern provided the water.
  • It required 7.5 gallons of water to flush.
  • It could accommodate 20 people between flushes.


Due to the lack of manufacturing and disposal improvements the Industrial Revolution would bring, Barksdale explained, people did not start to adopt this first flushing toilet.

The First Successful Line of Toilets (1800s AD)

Barksdale notes that two major innovations of the Industrial Revolution allowed the toilet to successfully mainstream:

    1. The S-shaped pipe, created by English inventor Alexander Cumming in 1775, which kept sewer gasses from travelling up to the toilet.
    2. The ballcock, an “improved tank-filling mechanism still used in toilets today,” invented in the late 1800s by Thomas Crapper, the Englishman recognized by Americans due to his brand’s success.


Thanks to all of the innovations mentioned above, the plumbing trade continues to flourish as experts are needed to maintain, repair, and innovate our plumbing systems. Today’s plumbing trade work with the following:

  • Water supplies
  • Heating systems
  • Gas and oil supplies
  • Drainage systems
  • Piping and fixtures
  • Waste disposal


Now that you have learned about plumbing history, explore the Plumbing and Pipefitting program at Apex.


Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.


Overcoming challenges working students face at Apex Technical School

8 Challenges Working Students Face

And How to Overcome Them

Adult students at trade schools and technical colleges are some of the hardest working individuals with the highest goals; they want to earn their education while providing for themselves and their families. Because their goals are so high, they overcome challenge after challenge along the way. If you’re one of those working students, we commend you and offer our tips for working while in school. Do you identify with these working student challenges?

1. You’ve agonized over going back to school.
When you’ve been in the working world for a year or two, it can be difficult to figure out a way to fit school into your busy life. After all, you’re already earning a living. At the same time, you know you would grow faster with an education – or be able to get a job in a field you care about – if you furthered your education. Don’t make the decision to go back to school on a whim; it’s an investment that requires time, commitment, and career goals.

2. Some say you’re too serious about your work.
While some traditional college students move from working in the dining hall, to helping out at the school library, to lifeguarding in the summer, adult students may have held down a full-time job before starting school. You should be proud of your commitment to your career – and your desire to grow through education. Don’t let your friends and family tell you to take your job less seriously while you’re in school. You’re gaining valuable work experience, padding your resume, and building a stronger network every day.

3. You had to be more particular about your college search.
When searching for the right higher education option, you had a different checklist than your traditional student friends. While they might look for a school that had the best dorms and student life, you looked for industry specific programs and a school with programs less than 2-4 years in length. Being a working student means focusing on mature priorities – ones that put you on the fast track toward your goals.

4. You have a long to-do list.
Working hard without breaks can often lead to over-commitment or fear that you won’t be able to do it all. Remember, working students just like you get it done every day. If you feel yourself worrying about your schedule, meet with your advisor or boss to discuss ways to adjust your priorities. You can do faster, better-quality work when your mind can relax and focus on one thing at a time. Check out our tips on time management and goal-setting to bring more balance to your life.

5. You go to bed exhausted more often than not.
Working students have a long list of priorities, and meeting those priorities takes hard work. A productive life is healthy, but we encourage you to move rest up on your list of priorities. When you get the sleep your body needs, you’ll become even more productive and motivated in achieving your goals.

6. You’re frequently balancing school work and your social life.
When your job and school take up your time, your social life often lags behind your other ambitions. Before you cancel on your best friend again, remember that friend time is often beneficial to your emotional well-being. However, you’re investing in your future heavily right now. If that means you need to trim your social time to finish homework and get some hard-earned rest, don’t feel guilty about committing less of your time to friends while in school.

7. Even procrastinators become productive multi-taskers.
When challenged with work-school-life balance, adult students – even those who were once chronic procrastinators – find themselves getting as much done as possible whenever there’s a free moment. You use those five minutes waiting for your teacher to start class to brush up on last week’s notes. You work through your lunch break instead of going out with your coworkers. If you have children, you use the time in between their homework to reflect on the job-training you received that day. Increased productivity can help you feel accomplished; but remember to set apart downtime before bed or first thing in the morning so you can consciously debrief and recharge.

8. You have the right form of early-onset senioritis.
Because you’ve chosen a program based on a career you’re genuinely excited about, you’re eager to learn and graduate so you can put your skills to work.
If you’re a working student or considering going back to school, we commend you. Set your priorities based on what’s important to you – your career, personal stability, and an education. A school like Apex Technical School understands what working students need in a trade school. You can find the support in advisors, teachers, and a focus on your goals.
Learn more about our programs today.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Time Management for working students from Apex Technical School

Time Management Tips for Working Students

As a student working while in college or at a trade school, you can wear many hats – you’re a student, a parent, a friend, an employee and more. There are times when two or more of your roles can overlap, and it can become stressful to find time to complete everything. To help you succeed in each role you have, Apex Technical School offers you seven time management techniques.

Keep a Planner or a Schedule

Balancing work while going to school can create a hectic schedule, and the best way to stay on top of it is by using a planner – whether it’s a physical planner or using your calendar features on your smartphone.

When you keep your planner with you at all times, you can keep track of everything you need to do. It can be used to keep your work and school schedule, as well as your assignments or requirements for both. A planner can help you keep track of where you need to be, what you need to do, and can limit the stress of forgetting things.

One benefit of using a digital calendar is that you can set reminders, create to-do lists and organize different types of tasks by color.

Find Your Productivity Peak – Breaks are Important

Your circadian rhythm (CR) is your internal, 24-hour clock that tells you when your body is ready is for sleep. Your CR also manages other cycles in your body, like your ultradian rhythm (UR). Your UR is what drives your productivity while you are awake, and it works in 90-120-minute sequences. Why? Because your brain can only focus for 90-120 minutes at a time and then you need to take a break.

At the beginning of the UR, you’ll have your most productive time (roughly 90 minutes). This is the time you want to focus on your work or other tasks. Then, when your cycle is complete, you experience a 20-minute break that is needed to refocus and regenerate. Step away, take a coffee break or check your social media profiles.

Your ultradian rhythm, just like your circadian rhythm, is unique to you. When you know what time of day works best for you, you can depend on that time to prioritize and complete work or school tasks efficiently. You’ll also be more productive when you take regular breaks to give your brain a rest.

Make, then Prioritize, a To-Do List

Along with your schedule, you can create to-do lists. When you write down everything you need done, you can prioritize the tasks by when they need to be complete, or space them out by how much time they will require. When you prioritize and follow the new to-do list with your schedule, you can prevent stress, manage time and keep your work and school life in order.

Complete Related Tasks Together

When you complete similar tasks all at the same time it allows your brain to continue in a constant flow without making it switch skill sets.

When you have, for example, 30 emails to read and one presentation to prepare, it is better if you schedule to read and reply to all the emails in a row. That may seem intimidating, but the emails require the same set of skills and thought process. When you complete similar tasks all at the same time, it will reduce start-up and slow-down time and increase focus.

When you put similar things in one group to complete, it is a technique called batching

Utilize Waiting Time

There are many moments that happen every day where you spend time waiting: for the bus, in a doctor’s office, on the elliptical at the gym, before work or before class. Those moments can be used to complete work that needs to be done. If you complete tasks while you wait, you can save time in other parts of your day.

Make Every Day/Week To-do’s a Habit

When you have a consistent work and/or school schedule, it will quickly become habitual.
On your schedule, when a task or assignment happens often, you should complete it at the same time each day. When you begin a regular schedule, it becomes expected, and you know where you need to be or what you should do during that time. Organizing your schedule to repeat daily or weekly will become a habit that will also help you organize your spare time because it will become a part of your rhythm.

Know the Importance of Work Life Balance

With all the roles you keep at school and work, one of your goals should be to make time for yourself. Leisure time should always be included in your daily or weekly schedule to do things that you enjoy.
In your schedule or to-do list, don’t forget to set some time away for yourself. When you have time to refresh, your focus will increase while your stress decreases, and you will make your working hours more beneficial.

Working While Going to School

Working while going to school takes dedication. To make the most of your time, use a calendar, make habits, use your waiting time to get things done and make extra time to do things for you.

For more school tips or information on the trades, check out all our resources in Apex Toolbox Chatter or contact Apex Technical School.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

Electrical tools displaying the myths about the electrical industrial

6 Possible Misconceptions About the Electrical Industry

Dispelling Misconceptions About Entering the Electrical Industry

If you’re considering going into the electrical trade, you probably know that it requires industry-specific training. And since virtually everybody uses electricity, the public often forms misconceptions about what those in the electrical trade do every day. Find out what those common misconceptions are, and what’s covered when preparing to enter the electrical field of trade.

Misconception #1: Entering the electrical trade doesn’t require an education.

Many employers will not hire people without experience or industry specific training, and pursuing higher education in the electrical industry can greatly increase employers’ interest in hiring you. Pursuing your training from a school with a strong history in the following can increase your future success even further:

  • Installation and safety
  • Conductors
  • Grounding and bonding
  • Fuses and wiring
  • Outlets and circuits
  • Electrical loads
  • Theory and application
  • Wire tables
  • Motors and controllers
  • Transformers

Misconception #2: The electrical industry doesn’t offer room for career growth.

Because you don’t need a four-year degree to enter the industry, it’s assumed that there isn’t opportunity to grow in your electrical career. Contrary to popular belief, a person in the electrical field is not finished learning as soon as he or she begins working. Years of experience improve electrical knowledge, and individuals can pursue advanced electrical training.

Misconception #3: Electrical work is too dangerous.

While electrical work requires attention to detail and solid knowledge of how electricity works, it shouldn’t be dangerous for those with proper electrical industry training. Ensure your electrical training covers electrical safety, and check the accreditation of your school. While shocks, burns, cuts, and falls are possible, a reputable school will be accredited and recognized for its ability to graduate safety-minded electrical person in the electrical field who are trained on risk prevention.

Misconception #4: Electrical is a dying field.

Because the trade has been around for decades while new technologies have evolved, people often consider electrical an industry no longer at its peak – an industry for older workers who will soon retire. However, electricity remains a fundamental component of most technologies, even as we enter an age of green energy. Households and businesses are in need of a younger generation of people in the electrical field to serve their evolving electrical needs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics can give you a sense of the size of the electrical field.

Misconception #5: All people in the electrical field do the same thing.

Not all people in the electrical field are linemen. Those in indoor or building electricity often focus on one specialized area, which could be one of the following:

  • Commercial
  • Residential
  • Industrial
  • Light industrial
  • Voice-Data-Video wiring

If you’re not sure what type of electrical work you’re interested in – or even that you’ll want to specialize – it’s important that you pursue electrical industry training that covers all the focus areas. Get a firm foundation in all the basics so you can make an informed decision about the type of electrical job you want to pursue – whether it’s one with daily tasks focused on one type of electrical or one that allows you to explore several types of electrical work in a single week.

Misconception #6: Individuals in the electrical field will never have full-time jobs.

While many in the electrical field are paid hourly, the amount of hours they work usually equals a full-time job. Rising, electrical program graduates should have an advantage over non-grads in seeking an entry-level job in the field.
As you consider pursuing electrical training, remember to talk to schools about what their electrical graduates do in the real world and what job placement assistance they have available.
Want to learn more about electrical? Explore the Electrical program at Apex.


*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.

A hard hat sitting on an open book forecasting the idea of going back to school

7 Tips for Adult Learners Going Back to School

Going back to school as an adult can create a unique set of obstacles that may differ from that of a traditional student. Balancing classes and schoolwork, along with a full-time or even part-time job, family commitments and a social life can be a challenge for some students. This can create a mix of emotions, anywhere from excitement to anxiety, and not all students have a support system to help ease these concerns.

Returning to school after a long gap of time can be daunting, but there are endless positive outcomes when it comes to networking with fellow students and faculty, not to mention the thrill that comes with learning a new skill and bettering oneself. Check out these seven tips to help make the most out of your learning experience.

    1. Ask for Guidance

Asking a – school representative for help is a great place to start to make sure you’re on track. Their job is to help students and assure you succeed, so be sure to take advantage of these services. Whether you have questions about the process for getting started, time management concerns or help locating classes, they can help you find the answers.

Guidance can also be found by talking directly with your course instructors. If you have a question about a particular lesson, a topic being discussed or the trade in general, your instructors are great resources. At many schools, including Apex, instructors have designated hours to help students.

    1. Learn Time Management

There are many ways you can learn to manage your time effectively. There isn’t one correct way to do it because everyone has different priorities, preferences and practices. Some students improve time management skills through creating to-do lists, using planners and calendars, while others may utilize technology to set cell phone alarms and task reminders.

Good time management skills can also benefit you in keeping on top of your small achievable goals. Every detail may not be mapped, but managing your school, work and free time can help you accomplish the small steps to your ultimate goal.

    1. Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is something that, as adult learners, we tend to value more, but do less. As adult learners, we don’t always have the option to take mid-day naps or sleep-in on the weekends. However, sleep is vital, and that is an understatement because sleep can help by:

      • Reducing stress
      • Supporting creativity
      • Improving memory
      • Increasing your attention span
      • Expanding your overall health within your body
      • And more
      • Cutting time out of your schedule to rest your mind and body will help you succeed.
    1. Make Support Systems

Support systems offer a way to manage stress, anxiety, questions, and the school process. Support systems can be made of friends, advisors, teachers, significant others, parents and/or relatives.
Your support system can be where you go to unwind and take a break or who you talk to about school. It will give you the chance to talk out your problems or give you a fresh perspective.

    1. Set Small, Reachable Goals

Starting with small, achievable goals is like going through different levels in video games and earning experience points for each task you complete. Each goal you set for yourself can have a reward – like a check mark on a list or something small and tangible. Just like experience points can lead to new levels, each small goal can lead to one ultimate goal.

The benefit of small goals will make the journey to your final goal more attainable, and it will give you confidence in your ability to get there.

    1. Balance Work and Personal Time

It is desirable to keep a healthly balance in life’s activities. It is easy to get wrapped up in work and school, so planning personal time, and time with family or friends, is what helps keep a healthy work and life balance.

Keeping a healthy work and life balance will also help you get more out of your school time. Taking personal time can help refresh so when you go to school you’ll be focused and relaxed.
Many times, balancing the two corresponds with time management. It connects with knowing your priorities and meeting all your needs.

    1. Enjoy Your Adult Learning Experience

Every student going to school has their own unique experience. Whether it is the reason why you decided to continue education or the process of going back to school, your experience and drive is your own.

Adults Going Back to School

Going back to school, especially when reenrolling after a long time, has many benefits. The small fears of getting back into the swing of things shouldn’t stop you from pursuing your goals. Remember to set small achievable goals with reasonable deadlines. And, if you’re having a hard time, don’t be scared to ask for guidance from someone at the school or someone in your support system.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.