Each year, millions of people enroll in higher education programs — whether that be through traditional education like a university or community college, or through vocational training such as a welding school. And if you find yourself about to join the growing number of people enrolling in the latter, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing a program that’s a good fit for you. But how can you figure out what is the best welding school for you? We’ve put together this guide so that you can know what to look for!
Compare program costs
While the cost of welding training at a community college or vocational school typically ranges from $5,000–$15,000, a bachelor’s degree can cost anywhere between $40,000–$100,000. When comparing programs, it may be in your best interest to pay more money for the right fit, or you might be better served to opt for a less expensive tuition price; ultimately, you’ll want to examine how much you’re willing to invest in your training and what you think you’ll get from each individual program.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to look into financial aid options such as scholarships, grants, payment plans, or loans to help ease the burden of any cost, and to make sure to check school websites for what they offer!
Consider the location
Where you currently live (and where you’d like to live) could also have a major impact on your decision. Should you travel to the other side of the country, or would you rather attend a program that’s just a 20 drive from your home? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the states that employ the largest numbers of welders are Texas, California, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, respectively — on the other hand, the places with the highest annual mean wages for welders are Washington DC, Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, and North Dakota. Are the cost, program value, and proximity to potential employers worth a move?
Before choosing a campus, it might be beneficial to take into account where you want to end up and any factors which might make you want to stay in your current location.
Learn more about the instructors
Being taught by the right person can have a huge impact on someone’s success, so we suggest learning all you can about who will be leading your prospective courses. See if they’re well-known in the industry or have produced any work that you can find, and check out what past students have said about them on review sites.
By researching who’ll be running the programs, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not they have the right level of skill and experience, as well as if their teaching style will fit your learning style.
Read course reviews
Another useful method of finding out if a welding school and its instructors are right for you is to read online reviews. Whether by searching online lists of top-ranked programs, or by reading through reviews from graduates on sites like Yelp or Quora, you can check to see if a school is likely to deliver on what it’s promising.
Both official rankings, like those on GradReports.com, or user assessments like the ones written in Google reviews will give you a good picture of the value of each program.
Visit the school, if possible
And finally, if you’re able, you might also want to make a visit to the school in person before committing to enrollment. Both school administrators and former students emphasize the importance of seeing the class space and meeting the staff face-to-face before signing onto a program. Attend any events or open houses being hosted by the school, or even just visit on your own to take a look at where you’ll be learning.
By actually seeing where the course will take place, you can gain personal insight you might otherwise miss online and from secondhand information.