How to Find the Right Welder Trade School near Selma Alabama
Finding the right welder technical school near Selma AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options available to get 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Selma AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded 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, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Selma AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things 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
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Selma AL area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program 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 selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Selma AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Selma AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Selma AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Selma AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Selma AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Best Selma Welding School for Certification
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are evaluating 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 teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Selma AL.