How to Select the Right Welding Training Program near Dixiana Alabama
Finding the right welding technical school near Dixiana AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous 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 best one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Dixiana AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Dixiana AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Dixiana AL area. That's why it's essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school 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 considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic 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 example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Dixiana AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of 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 assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Dixiana AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Dixiana AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Dixiana AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Dixiana AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses 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 a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dixiana AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Best Dixiana Welding Program for Certification
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Dixiana AL.