How to Select the Best Welder Certification Classes near Millbrook Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Millbrook AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options 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 available 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 brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Millbrook AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Millbrook AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Millbrook AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Millbrook AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist 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. 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 associations within the Millbrook AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied 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 a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Millbrook AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught 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 unsure 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 contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Millbrook AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Millbrook AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Millbrook Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are reviewing 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 needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Millbrook AL.