How to Choose the Right Welder Certification Classes near Anniston Alabama
Finding the right welder vocational school near Anniston AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest 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 important considerations when reviewing welder vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Anniston AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Anniston AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When 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 many welding trade and vocational schools in the Anniston AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Anniston AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 relationships within the Anniston AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Anniston AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, 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 instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Anniston AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Anniston AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anniston AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Anniston Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Anniston AL.