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Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at 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 decide on 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 evaluate before selecting a welder tech school.

Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Montgomery AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Montgomery AL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication 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 Montgomery AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Montgomery AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Montgomery AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.

Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.

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