How to Find the Right Welding Certification Classes near Bessemer Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Bessemer AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select 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 people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade 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 cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Bessemer AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned 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 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Bessemer AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some 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 means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Tech Programs
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Bessemer AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most 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 should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Bessemer AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various 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 establish associations within the Bessemer AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate 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 an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Bessemer AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Bessemer AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Bessemer AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bessemer AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Bessemer Welding Course for Certification
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Bessemer AL.