How to Enroll In the Right Welder Vocational School near Greenville Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Greenville AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous 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 pick the best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when reviewing welding technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Greenville AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Greenville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Greenville AL area. That's why it's essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people look at 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 looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Greenville AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement 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 utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Greenville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Greenville AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Greenville AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Greenville AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Greenville AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Greenville Welding Training for Certification
Picking the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Greenville AL.