How to Find the Best Welder Technical School near Eufaula Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Eufaula AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Eufaula AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily 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 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Eufaula AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Eufaula AL area. That's why it's essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Eufaula AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Eufaula AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Eufaula AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify 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 working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Eufaula AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already 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 can move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Eufaula AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Eufaula AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Eufaula Welding School for Certification
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. 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 type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Eufaula AL.