How to Pick the Right Welding Vocational School near Satsuma Alabama
Locating the right welding vocational school near Satsuma AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous 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 best one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to get 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 offered 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 short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Satsuma AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing 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 find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Satsuma AL employers not only require a degree or certificate 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 kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Satsuma AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Satsuma AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Satsuma AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Satsuma AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Satsuma AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Satsuma AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain 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 couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Satsuma AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Satsuma Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour 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 result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Satsuma AL.