How to Find the Right Welding Certification Course near Albertville Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Albertville AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Albertville AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Albertville AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Albertville AL area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Albertville AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Albertville AL 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 welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Albertville AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Albertville AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Albertville AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. 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 reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Albertville AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Albertville Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Albertville AL.