How to Pick the Right Welder Vocational School near Brook Highland Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding school near Brook Highland AL is an essential first step to launching your new career 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 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 trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Brook Highland AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Brook Highland 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 wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means 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 welder technical school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Tech Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Brook Highland AL area. That's why it's essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Brook Highland AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations 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 instructional program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Brook Highland AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. 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 Brook Highland AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Brook Highland AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Brook Highland AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on 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 emergencies.
Find the Best Brook Highland Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program 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 satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Brook Highland AL.