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Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Kingman AZ area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Kingman AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Kingman AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Kingman AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Kingman AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few 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 Kingman AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kingman AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain 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 responsibilities.