How to Select the Right Welder Vocational School near Scottsboro Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Scottsboro AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Scottsboro AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Scottsboro AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Scottsboro AL area. That's why it's important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important 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 need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Scottsboro AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. 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. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 relationships within the Scottsboro AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Scottsboro AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Scottsboro AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Scottsboro AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers 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 present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Scottsboro Welding Program for Certification
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Scottsboro AL.