How to Choose the Right Welding Certification Course near Dothan Alabama
Finding the right welder technical school near Dothan AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose 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? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Dothan AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Dothan AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Dothan AL area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. 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 some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Dothan AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations 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 develop relationships within the Dothan AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Dothan AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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 Dothan AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Dothan AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks 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 go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Best Dothan Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Dothan AL.