How to Select the Right Welder Trade School near Daphne Alabama
Finding the right welding school near Daphne AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Daphne AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop 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 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge 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 respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Daphne AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Daphne AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older 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 Daphne AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate 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 a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Daphne AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, 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. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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 pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting 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 the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Daphne AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Daphne Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Daphne AL.