How to Find the Right Welding Training Program near Moody Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder trade school near Moody AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose 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? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 typical welding programs offered in the Moody AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created 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 2 years to complete 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Moody AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. 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 certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Moody AL area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. 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 instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Moody AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Moody AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator 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 additionally that it has the network of Moody AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities 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 uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Moody AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Moody AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Moody Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Moody AL.