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Dothan Alabama welder welding metal electrical pole

Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Dothan AL area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.

Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example 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 may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Dothan AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Dothan AL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Dothan AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Dothan AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Dothan AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.

Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm 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 circumstances.

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