How to Choose the Right Welder Vocational School near Tuskegee Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near Tuskegee AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Tuskegee AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Tuskegee AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Tuskegee AL area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Tuskegee AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Tuskegee AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It's important that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Tuskegee AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure 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 in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Tuskegee AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Tuskegee AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Tuskegee Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Tuskegee AL.