How to Enroll In the Best Welding Training Classes near Atmore Alabama
Finding the right welder technical school near Atmore AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Atmore AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Atmore AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds 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, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Atmore AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Atmore AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Atmore AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 Atmore AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Atmore AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Atmore AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Atmore AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Atmore Welding School for Certification
Picking the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Atmore AL.