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What to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Juneau AK area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Juneau AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships 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 relationships within the Juneau AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who were 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Juneau AK employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Juneau AK welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Juneau AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some 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 opinions. Also, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau AK, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.