How to Pick the Right Welder Technical School near Cullman Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Cullman AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Cullman AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Cullman AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Cullman AL area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Cullman AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Cullman AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Cullman AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Cullman AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Cullman AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to 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. Furthermore, 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 a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cullman AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Cullman Welding Course for Certification
Picking the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. 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 considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Cullman AL.