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What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Ketchikan 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 most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds 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 example Welding Technology. So confirm 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Ketchikan AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Ketchikan AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Ketchikan AK contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed 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. If not, ask a local Ketchikan AK welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Ketchikan AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.