How to Choose the Best Welding Training Classes near Tuskegee Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Tuskegee AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When 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 evaluating welder technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Tuskegee AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Tuskegee AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Trade Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Tuskegee AL area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two 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 need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Tuskegee AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Tuskegee AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Tuskegee AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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 contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Tuskegee AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree 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 local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Tuskegee Welding School for Certification
Selecting the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Tuskegee AL.