How to Pick the Right Welding Training Program near Attalla Alabama
Locating the ideal welding technical school near Attalla AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Attalla AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Attalla AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Attalla AL area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain 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 select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Attalla AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering 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. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Attalla AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who joined 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Attalla AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding programs 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 similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 Attalla AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Attalla AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
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 flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Attalla AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Attalla Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Attalla AL.