How to Find the Right Welding Certificate Program near Daleville Alabama
Finding the right welding school near Daleville AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. 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 important concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to create 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Daleville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers 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 requirements for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Daleville 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). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Programs
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Daleville AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Daleville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after 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 associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 establish associations within the Daleville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Daleville AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down 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 facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Daleville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Daleville AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Daleville AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Daleville Welding School for Certification
Selecting the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Daleville AL.