How to Choose the Right Welding Technical School near Troy Alabama
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Troy AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welding 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 wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Classes
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Troy AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Troy AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Troy AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Troy AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. 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 must have associations 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Troy AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Troy AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Troy AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Troy AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Troy AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Troy Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Troy AL.