How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certification Course near Boaz Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding school near Boaz AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options to get 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 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. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Boaz AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations 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 skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Boaz AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. 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 specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Boaz AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. 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 provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example 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 acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Boaz AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, 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. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Boaz AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who were 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Boaz AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Boaz AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Boaz AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Boaz AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Boaz Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Boaz AL.