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How to Find the Best Welding Certification Course near Prichard Alabama

Prichard Alabama construction welder on the jobChoosing the ideal welder school near Prichard AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs

Prichard Alabama welder welding in fabrication shop

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

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.

Welder Certification Options

Prichard Alabama welder welding metal table

There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Prichard AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to

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

As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.

Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Programs

Prichard Alabama electrician welding metal electrical pole

Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Prichard AL area. That's why it's important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Prichard AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 Prichard AL welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Prichard AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. 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 Prichard AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Prichard AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 subsequently will desire to work.

Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prichard AL, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.

Learn More About Prichard Welding Training

Find the Right Prichard Welding Training for Certification

Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Prichard AL.

 

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