How to Enroll In the Best Welder Degree Program near Jasper Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Jasper AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Jasper AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers 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, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Jasper AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Jasper AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, 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 provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Jasper AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Jasper AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 Jasper AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Jasper AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Jasper AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Jasper AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Jasper Welding Training for Certification
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Jasper AL.