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What to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Prichard AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Prichard AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement 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 larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Prichard AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Prichard AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure 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 unsure 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 Prichard AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Prichard AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Prichard AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.