How to Choose the Right Welding Technical School near Tillmans Corner Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Tillmans Corner AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Tillmans Corner AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Tillmans Corner AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Tillmans Corner AL area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Tillmans Corner AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 establish relationships within the Tillmans Corner AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Tillmans Corner AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Tillmans Corner AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Tillmans Corner AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tillmans Corner AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Right Tillmans Corner Welding Program for Certification
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should 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. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Tillmans Corner AL.