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As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Northport AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding tech school.

Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Northport 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.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Northport AL welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could 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 higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Northport AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three options, 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 up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Northport AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Northport 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 especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Northport AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.

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