How to Select the Best Welding Certification Classes near Tuskegee Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Tuskegee AL is an important first step to starting 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Tuskegee AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Tuskegee AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. 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 certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Tuskegee AL area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. 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, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Tuskegee AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Tuskegee AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Tuskegee AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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. If not, ask a local Tuskegee AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Tuskegee 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 true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Tuskegee Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Tuskegee AL.