How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Robertsdale Alabama
Selecting the right welding technical school near Robertsdale AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Robertsdale AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Robertsdale AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Robertsdale AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most 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 should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Robertsdale AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Robertsdale AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Robertsdale AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Robertsdale AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Robertsdale AL home. If you do choose 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 particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering 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 assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Robertsdale Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the 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 best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Robertsdale AL.