How to Select the Right Welder Certificate Program near Brook Highland Alabama
Locating the right welder trade school near Brook Highland AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options available 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 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 summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Brook Highland AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. 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 two 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, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Brook Highland AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just 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 types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Brook Highland AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 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 must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn 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 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 recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Brook Highland AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 Brook Highland 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 welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Brook Highland AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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 Brook Highland AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Brook Highland 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 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 training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Brook Highland AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose 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.
Find the Right Brook Highland Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Brook Highland AL.