How to Select the Best Welder Certificate Program near Rainsville Alabama
Choosing the right welder vocational school near Rainsville AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to establish 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Rainsville AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Rainsville AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Rainsville AL area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn 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 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, for example 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 getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Rainsville AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various 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 help students find employment and establish relationships within the Rainsville 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 crucial that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Rainsville AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 Rainsville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Rainsville AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some 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 profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Rainsville AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Rainsville Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Rainsville AL.