How to Find the Best Welder Certification Course near Enterprise Alabama
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Enterprise AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welder technical 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 trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish 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
There are several options to obtain 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Enterprise AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Enterprise AL employers not only demand 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 available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things 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 types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Technical Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Enterprise AL area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Enterprise AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Enterprise AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, 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 affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Enterprise AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Enterprise AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Enterprise AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Enterprise AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Best Enterprise Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Enterprise AL.