How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Program near Moores Mill Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding trade school near Moores Mill AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Moores Mill AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Moores Mill AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few 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 certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Moores Mill AL area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most 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 choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive 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 choose 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Moores Mill AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various 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 assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Moores Mill 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 welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Moores Mill AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Moores Mill AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Moores Mill AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, 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 Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Moores Mill AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure 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, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Moores Mill Welding Training for Certification
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Moores Mill AL.