How to Pick the Best Welder Certification Course near Hueytown Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Hueytown AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to create 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
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Hueytown AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Hueytown AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Hueytown AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Hueytown AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Hueytown AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Hueytown AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect 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 using 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. Otherwise, ask a local Hueytown AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Hueytown AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may 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 provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hueytown AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Hueytown Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welding training program 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 own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Hueytown AL.