How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near East Florence Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near East Florence AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the East Florence AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous East Florence AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the East Florence AL area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in East Florence 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. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop 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 complete it. It's important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of East Florence AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 East Florence AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your East Florence AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses 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 offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near East Florence AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best East Florence Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in East Florence AL.