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Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Kodiak AK area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to 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 following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.

Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select 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 ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Kodiak AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered 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 considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Kodiak AK welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Kodiak AK contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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 Kodiak AK welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.

School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Kodiak AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 ultimately will wish to work.

Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kodiak AK, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

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