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Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Russellville AL area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people look at 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 school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Russellville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Russellville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion 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 program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Russellville AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Russellville AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Russellville AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Russellville AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.