How to Select the Right Welder Certification Program near Scottsboro Alabama
Locating the right welder trade school near Scottsboro AL is an important first step to starting 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade 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 Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Scottsboro AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Scottsboro AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Scottsboro AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Scottsboro AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Scottsboro AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Scottsboro AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. 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 Scottsboro AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. 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 Scottsboro AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present 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 go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Scottsboro AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Scottsboro Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Scottsboro AL.