How to Select the Right Welder Certification Program near Homewood Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding school near Homewood AL is an important first step to launching 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Homewood AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Homewood AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills 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 kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Trade Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Homewood AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Homewood AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The 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 assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Homewood 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 crucial that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Homewood AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, 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 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 contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Homewood AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma 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 an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible 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 looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Homewood AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Homewood Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the right welding school will probably be the most important 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 welding training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Homewood AL.