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What to Ask Welder Trade Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Talladega AL area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard 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 pick is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Talladega AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Talladega AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Talladega AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Talladega AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Talladega AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Talladega AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.