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Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Saraland AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder trade school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Saraland AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.

Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Saraland AL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied 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 high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Saraland AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Saraland AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.

School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Saraland AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present 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 Saraland AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.

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