How to Choose the Right Welder Training Classes near Calera Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding trade school near Calera AL is an essential first step to starting 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welding 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 trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Programs
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Calera AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Calera AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Trade Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Calera AL area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important 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 looked at. After all, the program you choose 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 want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you decide on 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Calera AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job 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 various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Calera AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Calera AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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. Otherwise, ask a local Calera AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Calera AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the teachers and find out 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 working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Calera AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Best Calera Welding Training for Certification
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Calera AL.