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Questions to Ask Welding Technical Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Gardendale AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many 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 pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic 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 has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Gardendale AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask 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 place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Gardendale AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Gardendale AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Gardendale AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Gardendale AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gardendale AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.