How to Enroll In the Right Welder Degree Program near Moody Alabama
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Moody AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Moody AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Moody AL employers not only demand 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 type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating 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, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Tech Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Moody AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many 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 should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you select 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 a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Moody AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Moody AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Moody AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Moody AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Moody AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and ask 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 programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Moody AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Moody Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure 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 outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Moody AL.