How to Find the Right Welding Certification Course near Millbrook Alabama
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Millbrook AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welder technical 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Millbrook AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Millbrook AL employers not only require a certificate or degree 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 based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Millbrook AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice 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 essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Millbrook AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist 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. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Millbrook AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined 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 higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Millbrook AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Millbrook AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
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 bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Millbrook AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Millbrook AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Millbrook Welding Program for Certification
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Millbrook AL.