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What to Ask Welder Technical Programs

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After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Prattville AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at 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 choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Prattville 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 as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These 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 larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Prattville AL welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Prattville AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. 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 Prattville AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Prattville AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.

Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Prattville AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.

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