How to Enroll In the Best Welder Technical School near East Florence Alabama
Choosing the right welder vocational school near East Florence AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues 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 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 talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the East Florence AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take 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 supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states 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 ready 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 various institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous East Florence AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the East Florence AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in East Florence AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, 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. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the East Florence AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of East Florence AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 East Florence AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your East Florence AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some 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 evaluations. Also, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near East Florence AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best East Florence Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour 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 dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in East Florence AL.