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How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Course near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama construction welder on the jobSelecting the ideal welding vocational school near Phenix 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 know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses

Phenix City Alabama welder welding in fabrication shop

There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Phenix City AL area.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers 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 requirements for welders, so be sure to find out 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 pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.

Welder Certification Options

Phenix City Alabama welder welding metal table

There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Phenix City AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specific metal thicknesses
  • Work with specific types of welds
  • Perform according to contract specifications

As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.

Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools

Phenix City Alabama electrician welding electrical pole

After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Phenix City AL area. That's why it's essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.

Accreditation. It's essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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 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 recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Phenix City AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree 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 assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Phenix City AL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Phenix City AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Phenix City AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Phenix City AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.

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Find the Best Phenix City Welding Program for Certification

Selecting the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Phenix City AL.

 

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