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After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Muscle Shoals AL area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welder vocational school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 a specific program the school has, such as 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Muscle Shoals AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding 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 after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Muscle Shoals AL welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Muscle Shoals AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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 Muscle Shoals AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Muscle Shoals AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.

Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Muscle Shoals AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.

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