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As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Theodore AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, 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 some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding trade school.

Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Theodore AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Theodore 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 essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Theodore AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Theodore AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Theodore AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 wish to work.

Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Theodore AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

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