How to Find the Best Welding Certification Program near Troy Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding school near Troy AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welder trade 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 trade school to become a welder, it's prudent 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 Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Troy AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely 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 two years to complete 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 furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Troy AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Troy AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Troy AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined 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 considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Troy AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Troy AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Troy AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Troy AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate 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 regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Troy AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend 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 work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Troy Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Troy AL.