How to Pick the Right Welder Training Classes near Moody Alabama
Selecting the right welder school near Moody AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welding technical 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 develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Moody AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded 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, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate 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 school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally 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 decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Moody AL area. That's why it's essential to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Moody AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Moody AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 verify 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 employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Moody AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moody AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Moody Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Moody AL.