How to Find the Right Welder Certification Program near Trussville Alabama
Enrolling in the right welder school near Trussville AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Trussville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working 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 extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Trussville AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different types 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, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Trussville AL area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's very 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 earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Trussville AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Trussville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Trussville AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Trussville AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of 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, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Trussville AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Trussville Welding School for Certification
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Trussville AL.