How to Select the Right Welding Training Classes near Anniston Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder vocational school near Anniston AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Anniston AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many 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 prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Anniston AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Anniston AL area. That's why it's important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 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 should be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types 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 certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Anniston AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Anniston AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Anniston AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over 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 similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Anniston AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Anniston AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anniston AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Anniston Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour 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, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Anniston AL.