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When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Fairbanks AK area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, 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 furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.

Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic 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 has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Fairbanks AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Fairbanks AK welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's important that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Fairbanks AK contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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. Otherwise, ask a local Fairbanks AK welding professional if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Fairbanks AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.

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