How to Select the Right Welding Vocational School near Glencoe Alabama
Finding the ideal welder trade school near Glencoe AL is an essential first step to starting 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Glencoe AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Glencoe AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities 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 qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Trade Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Glencoe AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick 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 need to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable 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 as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Glencoe AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Glencoe AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Glencoe AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Glencoe AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Glencoe AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Glencoe Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain 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 career as a professional welder in Glencoe AL.