How to Pick the Right Welder Trade School near Glencoe Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Glencoe AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation 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 fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Glencoe AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Glencoe AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Glencoe AL area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Glencoe AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Glencoe AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Glencoe AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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 Glencoe AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Glencoe AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some 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, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Glencoe AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Glencoe Welding Training for Certification
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training 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 serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Glencoe AL.