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After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Sitka AK area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school 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 need to consider before selecting a welding trade school.

Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as 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 recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Sitka AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out 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 place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Sitka 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 welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Sitka AK contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Sitka AK welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.

School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Sitka AK home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sitka AK, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.

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