How to Pick the Best Welding Training Program near Brook Highland Alabama
Finding the right welding school near Brook Highland AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Brook Highland AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Brook Highland AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means 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 verify that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Programs
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Brook Highland AL area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational school you choose 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 a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Brook Highland AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Brook Highland AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Brook Highland AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure 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 working with 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. Otherwise, ask a local Brook Highland AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Brook Highland AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Brook Highland AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Brook Highland Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Brook Highland AL.