How to Pick the Right Welder Degree Program near Millbrook Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder trade school near Millbrook AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose 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 start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Millbrook AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Millbrook AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Trade Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Millbrook AL area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Millbrook AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Millbrook AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Millbrook AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Millbrook AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Millbrook AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Millbrook AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Best Millbrook Welding Course for Certification
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Millbrook AL.