How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Course near Daleville Alabama
Choosing the right welder trade school near Daleville AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Daleville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Daleville AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Daleville AL area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Daleville AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Daleville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Daleville AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Daleville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Daleville AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some 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 hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Daleville AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Daleville Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Daleville AL.