How to Enroll In the Best Welder Certification Course near Clay Alabama
Selecting the right welding trade school near Clay AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welding trade 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 establish 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Clay AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete 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.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Clay AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Clay AL area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic 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, such as Welding Technology. So confirm 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Clay 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. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Clay AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Clay AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Clay AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Clay AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Clay AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Clay Welding Course for Certification
Picking the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Clay AL.