How to Enroll In the Best Welding Certification Classes near Monroeville Alabama
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Monroeville AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. 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 issues when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of alternatives 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Monroeville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Monroeville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. 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 specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous 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 previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Monroeville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Monroeville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Monroeville AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Monroeville AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Monroeville AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Monroeville AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Monroeville Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Monroeville AL.