How to Pick the Right Welder Certificate Program near Talladega Alabama
Locating the right welding school near Talladega AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Talladega AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete 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 furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Talladega AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type 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 kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Talladega AL area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at 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 school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Talladega AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Talladega AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Talladega AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Talladega AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Talladega AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see 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 Talladega AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Talladega Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Talladega AL.