How to Select the Best Welding Certification Classes near Boaz Alabama
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Boaz AL is an essential 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 know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to create 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 Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Boaz AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete 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.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Boaz AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Boaz AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Boaz AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Boaz 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 finish it. It's crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Boaz AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Boaz AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Boaz AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Boaz AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Best Boaz Welding School for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Boaz AL.