How to Select the Best Welding Training Program near Satsuma Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Satsuma AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, 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 driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to get 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Satsuma AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Satsuma AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various 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 make certain that the welding technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Satsuma AL area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Satsuma AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction 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 considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Satsuma AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Satsuma AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Satsuma AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Satsuma AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Satsuma AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Satsuma Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Satsuma AL.