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Points to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Florence AL area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Florence AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Florence AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in 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 higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Florence AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Florence AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Florence AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.