How to Enroll In the Right Welder Trade School near Attalla Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder technical school near Attalla AL is an important first step to launching 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 begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Attalla AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one 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 additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Attalla AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind 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 various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Attalla AL area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Attalla AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Attalla AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent 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 Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Attalla AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Attalla AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Attalla AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Attalla Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welder school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Attalla AL.