How to Pick the Right Welder Training Classes near Monroeville Alabama
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Monroeville AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welding vocational 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Monroeville AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Monroeville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Monroeville AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant 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 looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds 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 instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Monroeville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma 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 reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Monroeville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Monroeville AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Monroeville 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 few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Monroeville AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Monroeville AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on 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 emergencies.
Find the Right Monroeville Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Monroeville AL.