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Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Bethel AK area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most 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 need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder tech school.

Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Bethel AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 relationships within the Bethel AK welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify 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 a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Bethel AK employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Bethel AK welding professional if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Bethel AK home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.

Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bethel AK, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

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