How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Pell City Alabama
Finding the right welding school near Pell City AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to create 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Pell City AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Pell City AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Trade Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Pell City AL area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Pell City AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Pell City AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Pell City AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Pell City AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Pell City AL home. If you do opt 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 the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pell City AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Pell City Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain 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 outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Pell City AL.