How to Choose the Best Welding Training Classes near Pell City Alabama
Locating the right welding technical school near Pell City AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options available to receive 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Pell City AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Pell City AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also 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 confirm that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Trade Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Pell City AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Pell City AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Pell City AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Pell City AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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. If not, ask a local Pell City AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Pell City AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses 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 offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pell City AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Pell City Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Pell City AL.