How to Pick the Best Welding Training Classes near Eufaula Alabama
Selecting the right welding trade school near Eufaula AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out 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 examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Eufaula AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Eufaula AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different types 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 confirm that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Eufaula AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Eufaula AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 relationships within the Eufaula AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Eufaula AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Eufaula AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Eufaula 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 true for welding degree 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 an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Eufaula AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Eufaula Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary 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. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Eufaula AL.