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Points to Ask Welder Trade Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Irondale AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Irondale AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist 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 refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Irondale AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Irondale AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 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 taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 Irondale AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Irondale AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Irondale AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.