How to Find the Right Welding Certificate Program near Trussville Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding vocational school near Trussville AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine 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 residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder technical 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 develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Trussville AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 furnishes 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 states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Trussville AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Trussville AL area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Trussville AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Trussville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Trussville AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. 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 Trussville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Trussville AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding 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 regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask 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, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Trussville AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Best Trussville Welding Training for Certification
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on 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 proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Trussville AL.