How to Enroll In the Right Welding Technical School near Jasper Alabama
Finding the right welding trade school near Jasper AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Jasper AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed 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 2 years to finish 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Jasper AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. 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 specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate 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 welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Trade Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Jasper AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types 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, 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Jasper AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships 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 utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Jasper AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Jasper AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Jasper AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Jasper AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure 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 Jasper AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Jasper Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Jasper AL.