How to Find the Best Welder Certification Course near Guntersville Alabama
Locating the right welder technical school near Guntersville AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Guntersville AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Guntersville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way 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 welding tech school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Guntersville AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education 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 welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Guntersville AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Guntersville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who were 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 caliber 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 Guntersville AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Guntersville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Guntersville AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Guntersville AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Guntersville Welding School for Certification
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Guntersville AL.