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Questions to Ask Welder Trade Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Decatur AL area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Decatur AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other 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 assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Decatur AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Decatur AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Decatur AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Decatur AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.