How to Pick the Right Welding Training Program near Guntersville Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Guntersville AL is an important first step to launching your new career 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 narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible to establish 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Guntersville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Guntersville AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Guntersville AL area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard 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 example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example 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 getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Guntersville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Guntersville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who enrolled 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 school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Guntersville AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Guntersville AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Guntersville AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Guntersville AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Guntersville Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Guntersville AL.