How to Find the Right Welding Technical School near Daphne Alabama
Finding the right welding school near Daphne AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to create 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 Courses
There are several alternatives available to obtain 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Daphne AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Daphne AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree 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 offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating 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 knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Daphne AL area. That's why it's essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at 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 looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Daphne AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Daphne AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Daphne AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Daphne AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance 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 relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Daphne AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Daphne AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Daphne Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide 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 offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Daphne AL.