How to Select the Best Welder Certification Program near Pike Road Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Pike Road AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many 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? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welding trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop 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 Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Pike Road AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Pike Road AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Pike Road AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most 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 should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Pike Road AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Pike Road AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Pike Road AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment 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 not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Pike Road AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Pike Road AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pike Road AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Pike Road Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Pike Road AL.