How to Enroll In the Best Welding Certification Program near Montevallo Alabama
Finding the ideal welder school near Montevallo AL is an essential 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Training Courses
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Montevallo AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Montevallo AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally 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 just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Montevallo AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Montevallo 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.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Montevallo AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Montevallo AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Montevallo AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Montevallo AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montevallo AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Montevallo Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best 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 certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Montevallo AL.