How to Choose the Right Welding Technical School near Monroeville Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding vocational school near Monroeville AL is an important 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to create 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Monroeville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Monroeville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Monroeville AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as 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 recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Monroeville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing 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 relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Monroeville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Monroeville AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 Monroeville AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Monroeville AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Monroeville AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select 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.
Find the Best Monroeville Welding Course for Certification
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Monroeville AL.