How to Pick a Welding Training Program near Union Springs 36089
Finding the ideal welding school near Union Springs AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous welding schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school in the Union Springs area. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often 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.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for Union Springs or your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Union Springs area employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just 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 various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Union Springs employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online in your Union Springs home. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welder Tech School
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Union Springs area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools in the 36089 area. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment in the Union Springs area and develop relationships within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Union Springs area upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think about visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Union Springs welding contractor if they can give you some 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 bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Union Springs home. If you do decide to enroll in 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 welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Union Springs, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Ideal Welding Technical Program Union Springs ALPicking the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder.