How to Find the Best Welder Training Classes near Brewton Alabama
Locating the ideal welder technical school near Brewton AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Brewton AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Brewton AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some 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
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Brewton AL area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Brewton AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place 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. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Brewton AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Brewton AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, 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 Brewton AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Brewton AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brewton AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Brewton Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Brewton AL.