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What to Ask Welding Technical Schools

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After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Kenai AK area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your selected 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 mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welder tech school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Kenai AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other 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 Kenai AK welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Kenai AK contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over 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 working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Kenai AK welding contractor if they can give you some tips.

School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Kenai AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 subsequently will desire to work.

Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kenai AK, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.

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