How to Enroll In the Right Welder Certification Program near Boaz Alabama
Locating the right welding trade school near Boaz AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation 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 best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to create 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Boaz AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Boaz AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Boaz AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Boaz AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding 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 educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Boaz AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Boaz AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Boaz AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Boaz AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Boaz Welding School for Certification
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Boaz AL.