How to Select the Right Welding Training Program near Moody Alabama
Choosing the right welder school near Moody AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welding 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options available to receive 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Moody AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop 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 provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should ready 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 several organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Moody AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Questions 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 can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Moody AL area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic 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 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Moody AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Moody AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Moody AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, 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 modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Moody AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Moody AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Moody AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Moody Welding School for Certification
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to 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 decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Moody AL.