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Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Lakes AK area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.

Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard 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 verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Lakes AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering 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 larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Lakes AK welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Lakes AK employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Lakes AK welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.

School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Lakes AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Flexible Class Scheduling. 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 considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lakes AK, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.

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