How to Enroll In the Best Welding Certificate Program near Robertsdale Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Robertsdale AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. 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 important concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Robertsdale AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Robertsdale AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Robertsdale AL area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Robertsdale AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Robertsdale AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational 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 joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Robertsdale AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Robertsdale AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Robertsdale AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see 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 some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Robertsdale AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Best Robertsdale Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welder training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Robertsdale AL.