How to Pick the Right Welder Vocational School near Satsuma Alabama
Locating the right welder vocational school near Satsuma AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Satsuma AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 provides 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 requirements for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Satsuma AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, 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. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Technical Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Satsuma AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must 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 selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose 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 make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Satsuma AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction 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 considering assist 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. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Satsuma AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Satsuma AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Satsuma AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Satsuma AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Satsuma AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Satsuma Welding Program for Certification
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers 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 instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Satsuma AL.