How to Select the Right Welding Trade School near Tarrant Alabama
Selecting the right welder trade school near Tarrant AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once 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 evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Tarrant AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually 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.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Tarrant AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various 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, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Tarrant AL area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain 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 choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Tarrant AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Tarrant AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Tarrant AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Tarrant AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Tarrant AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tarrant AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Right Tarrant Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors 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 reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. 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 decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Tarrant AL.