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Questions to Ask Welding Technical Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Madison AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish 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 the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Madison AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered 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 reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships 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 develop relationships within the Madison AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Madison AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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. If not, ask a local Madison AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Madison AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Madison AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you select 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.