How to Find the Right Welding Technical School near Auburn Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Auburn AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welder vocational 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive 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 available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Auburn AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Auburn AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Trade Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Auburn AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Auburn AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Auburn AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who enrolled 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Auburn AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Auburn AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Auburn AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Auburn Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right 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.