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Questions to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Anniston AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Anniston AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Anniston AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Anniston AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Anniston AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Anniston AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anniston AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.