How to Select the Right Welder Certification Program near Tuskegee Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Tuskegee 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined 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 normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Tuskegee AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few 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 types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Trade Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Tuskegee AL area. That's why it's important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 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 should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently 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 also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The 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 help students find employment and establish associations within the Tuskegee AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Tuskegee AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting 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 similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Tuskegee AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tuskegee AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Tuskegee Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Tuskegee AL.