How to Select the Right Welding Certification Classes near Glencoe Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder technical school near Glencoe AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Glencoe AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Glencoe AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Glencoe AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Glencoe AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist 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 place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Glencoe AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Glencoe AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Glencoe AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Glencoe AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may 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 an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Glencoe AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Glencoe Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. 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 best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Glencoe AL.