Frequently Asked Questions - FAQ

Answers to many frequently asked questions about the programs, the application process, living in Boston and financial aid. If the answers to your questions are not included here, please contact us!



What qualities & skills do we look for in candidates for full-time programs?

It takes courage, commitment, and patience to embark on a career path that requires a mastery of hand skills. Students at North Bennet Street School are diverse in age, experience, and background. Some students attend NBSS directly after high school or home school, while others find us later as a second career or after military service or retirement. What unites NBSS students is a commitment to traditional skills and to excellence.

Qualities & skills that we look for in full-time candidates:

Curious, Mechanical aptitude, Critical thinking skills, Detail-oriented, Solution-driven, Patient, Responsible, Mature, Dedicated, Disciplined, Open-minded, Excellent work ethic, Time management skills, Communication skills, Self-motivated, Self-reliant, Life-long learner, Entrepreneurial, Transferrable skills and experience  

What is the difference between the Full-time Programs and Continuing Education?

Full-Time Programs are formal apprenticeships for the career minded. Continuing Education courses and workshops are for everyone and anyone who is interested in learning and honing their skills. North Bennet Street School is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. Admission to the full-time programs is through an application process and the programs provide a comprehensive education toward employment. Depending on the program, students are enrolled full-time for one to three years. Financial aid is available for full-time programs. Continuing Education courses and workshops are not accredited programs and are offered through the Department of Continuing Education. Continuing Education courses and workshops teach specific skills in courses that may last one day or up to three months. Continuing Education students are serious amateurs and skilled makers who seek to learn a new skill. For less experienced students, Continuing Education courses and workshops can be a good introduction to the School. Successful Continuing Education students often apply to the full-time programs.

How much does it cost to attend the Full-time Programs?

Tuition and Program information is listed at the bottom of each Program page. Financial Aid is available to qualified applicants. We accept educational benefits from military service such as the Post 9-11 G.I Bill and Vocational Rehabilitation. We also accept educational benefits from AmeriCorps. Access our NBSS Net Price Calculator here. Please view the Full-Time Program Catalog Supplement for current information about costs and class hours.

Does graduation lead to employment?

The School is committed to training for employable skills and providing career support to students and alumni. The Director of Student Life and Career Services helps graduates with their job search and career planning. Many graduates begin their post-NBSS career working with experienced makers; some continue to work for others and some start businesses. Occasionally, students begin a business directly upon graduation. Of the 85 individuals who graduated in 2009, 81 either chose to pursue further education or were employed within 4 months. Additional support includes:

  • The option to participate in a Business Course that provides an overview of small-business practices with an emphasis on self-employed skilled trades.
  • A database of both current jobs and companies who have posted jobs in the past. The database is only available to students and graduates.
  • Announcements of commissions that come through the School from individuals seeking the skills of our students and graduates.
  • Assistance with resumes and cover letters.
  • The support of instructors who know many people in the field. They are an integral part of the School to career transition and their support and recommendations are invaluable.

For more information, view the career pages of this website or email Sheree Brown, Director of Student Life and Career Services at

Classes and Grading


How are classes structured?

While the specifics of each program vary, all full-time programs provide intensive, hands-on training in a structured environment with a focus on practical projects. Each project builds on previous learned skills and requires students to solve increasingly complex problems. This method encourages students to systematically develop their hand skills, understanding of tools, materials, and processes.

How often and at what times do classes meet?

Classes meet Monday-Friday. The specific meeting time depends on the program; please view the Full-Time Program Catalog Supplement for information on class hours. Bench rooms and workshops are often open after instruction hours and during some weekend hours for independent work.

How are students graded?

Students are graded each month on performance, progress and effort. The performance grade is based on assigned, practical projects and written tests. The progress grade is based on overall speed and advancement. The effort grade is based on demonstrated personal initiative. Regular attendance contributes significantly to the effort grade. All absences must be excused. The instructor reviews grades with each student regularly. Grades are recorded as a permanent record which is retained in each student’s file. A student may request a copy of her/his record at anytime. Students are graded as follows:

E-Excellent (4.0, 90-100)
G-Good (3.0, 80-89)
F-Fair (2.0, 70-79)
P-Poor (1.0, 60-69)
U-Unsatisfactory (below 60).

Full-Time Admissions Process


What is the process?

Research, apply, and visit us. For the Fall start, please complete admissions requirements by January 1 to be included in the first round of decisions in March. We are selective, and work with you up front to understand if you and the School are a good fit. We have a limited number of benches, we utilize wait-lists, and we encourage applicants at any time of the year.

North Bennet Street School is unique, and is best experienced in person if you are considering training here. All applicants are required to visit the School for a tour and an interview. The interview is an opportunity for you to meet with a school representative and discuss whether NBSS is right for you. The visit provides an opportunity for applicants to see the workshops and studios, and to meet students and instructors when available.

Is it possible to schedule my interview by phone?

We require a visit and interview as part of the application process. In some cases, when an applicant lives far from the School, a phone interview may precede the visit. A visit to the School, however, is highly advised. Informal phone inquiries and questions are welcome!

Should I take public transportation to visit?

While Boston’s North End boasts some of the city’s best historic sites and restaurants, it has very little parking. We encourage visitors to use public transportation. The School is a short walk from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) Haymarket Station (on the Orange Line) and Aquarium Station (on the Blue Line). Please follow this link for more information about public transportation and local parking lots.

What kind of questions should I expect on the math test?

Using rulers, measuring angles, calculating percentages and other basic math skills are used in many NBSS programs. The math test helps us understand if an applicant has the basic math skills necessary to complete our programs. There is no specific passing score and academic transcripts are taken into consideration when judging an applicant's math abilities. Calculators are not allowed during the math test. Applicants have 20 minutes to complete each section of the two section test.

The first 20-minute section - Applied Arithmetic - has multiple-choice word problems such as: if 36 pieces of candy were equally distributed among a group of people and if each person received as many pieces of candy as there were people in the group, how many people were in the group? (A) 8, (B) 12 ..." The second 20-minute section – Computation – includes multiple-choice answers to algorithmic equations such as: 7,389 - 6,438 = ? (A) 534, (B) 580, ...."

Is it possible to transfer credits from another institution?

We do not accept credits from other schools. Prior experience may strengthen an applicant’s candidacy.

How can I improve my application?

Although the particular skills and qualities we look for in an applicant differ from program to program, prior experience in the field to which you are applying increases the likelihood of your application being successful. If you do not have previous experience, you might consider a workshop or course at NBSS or similar craft center to build your skills. We are happy to discuss this with you if you are unsure if you would benefit from additional experience. The most important quality that we look for in all applicants is an understanding of and a commitment and passion for craft.

Financial Aid and Housing


Is financial aid available?

North Bennet Street School students are eligible for both federal and state financial aid. The school also regularly assists applicants who pursue alternate funding through public and private organizations such as the Veterans Administration and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. Significant fundraising over the past several years has created a scholarship endowment that funds NBSS need-based scholarships. Additional loan and scholarship opportunities may also be possible. Comprehensive financial aid information and applications are on the NBSS website. James Dergay, Director of Financial Aid, is available to talk to applicants and students. He can be reached at 617-227-0155 x115.

Does your school offer housing for students?

North Bennet Street School does not have housing. NBSS is located in the vibrant, residential North End neighborhood in Boston and is close to public transportation. Sheree Brown, Director of Student Life and Career Services, can provide a list of housing resources for students to use during their search for housing. Sheree can be reached at 617-227-0155 x113 or

Contact us

We welcome your calls, emails and visits. We are always happy to talk to you!

North Bennet Street School
150 North Street
Boston MA 02109
617-227-9292 (fax) 

Get more info and ask questions about full-time programs with this simple form.