How to Pick the Right Welding Training Program near Daphne Alabama
Locating the ideal welding technical school near Daphne AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welder vocational 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 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 cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Daphne AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach 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 finish 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Daphne AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove 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 vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Daphne AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Daphne AL for non-accredited schools. 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. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Daphne AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Daphne AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using 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 Daphne AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Daphne AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few 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 evaluations. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm 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 Daphne AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Daphne Welding School for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are examining includes a good deal 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 provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Daphne AL.