How to Select the Right Welding Certification Classes near Millbrook Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Millbrook AL is an important first step to beginning 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Millbrook AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Millbrook AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things 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 kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Trade Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Millbrook AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose 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 a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable 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 Assistance Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Millbrook AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify 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 an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Millbrook AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Millbrook AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Millbrook AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify 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, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Millbrook Welding School for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk 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 ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Millbrook AL.