How to Choose the Best Welder Vocational School near Moores Mill Alabama
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Moores Mill AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine 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 looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Moores Mill AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Moores Mill AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Moores Mill AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school 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 need to consider before choosing a welding tech 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 two 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 example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Moores Mill 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 Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 help students find employment and establish relationships within the Moores Mill AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Moores Mill AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Moores Mill AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Moores Mill AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Moores Mill Welding Course for Certification
Picking the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some 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 commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Moores Mill AL.