How to Find the Best Welder Degree Program near Satsuma Alabama
Selecting the right welder technical school near Satsuma AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Satsuma AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 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 working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Satsuma AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some 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 based on contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Satsuma AL area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Satsuma AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist 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 assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Satsuma AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Satsuma AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 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 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 choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can witness 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 credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Satsuma AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Best Satsuma Welding School for Certification
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length 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. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Satsuma AL.