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After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Clay AL area. That's why it's essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 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 looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Clay AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help 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. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Clay AL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Clay AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Clay AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Clay AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.

Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clay AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

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