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Questions to Ask Welder Technical Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Orange Beach AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example 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 acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Orange Beach 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. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Orange Beach AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Orange Beach AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over 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 unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Orange Beach AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Orange Beach AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Orange Beach AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.