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Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Palmer AK area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider 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 program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Palmer AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Palmer AK welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Palmer AK contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Palmer AK welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Palmer AK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Palmer AK, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

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