How to Find the Best Welding Degree Program near Auburn Alabama
Finding the ideal welder technical school near Auburn AL is an important first step to starting your new career 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing welder trade 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 trade school to become a welder, it's wise to establish 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Auburn AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Auburn AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, 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 does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Auburn AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 receive a quality education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Auburn AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place 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 Auburn AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Auburn AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Auburn AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Auburn AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Right Auburn Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers 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 decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Auburn AL.