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Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Phenix City AL area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Phenix City AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Phenix City 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 finish it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Phenix City AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Phenix City AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Phenix City AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask 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 see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.