How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certification Classes near Alexander City Alabama
Locating the right welding technical school near Alexander City AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Alexander City AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Alexander City AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Tech Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Alexander City AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Alexander City AL 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 welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Alexander City AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in 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 high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Alexander City AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Alexander City AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Alexander City AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alexander City AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Alexander City Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must 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. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Alexander City AL.