How to Find the Right Welding Training Program near Homewood Alabama
Finding the right welding school near Homewood AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welder vocational 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 trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore 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 obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Homewood AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Homewood AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some 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 specific types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Homewood AL area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Homewood 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 Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Homewood AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Homewood AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Homewood AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Homewood AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Homewood AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Homewood Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform 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. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Homewood AL.