How to Pick the Right Welder Trade School near Daleville Alabama
Finding the ideal welder school near Daleville AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welder 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 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to receive 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 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 available in the Daleville AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Daleville AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just 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 various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Daleville AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of 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 should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Daleville AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering 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 larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Daleville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Daleville AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect 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 working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Daleville AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Daleville AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Daleville Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Daleville AL.