How to Enroll In the Right Welding Vocational School near Irondale Alabama
Selecting the right welding technical school near Irondale 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 determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational 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 Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Irondale AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Irondale AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Irondale AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Irondale AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Irondale AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Irondale AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Irondale AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Irondale AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to 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. Additionally, if the school provides 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the trainers 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. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Irondale AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Irondale Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder 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 several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Irondale AL.