How to Pick a Welder Technical School near Elberta 36530
Choosing the ideal welder school near Elberta AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many welding schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school in the Elberta area. 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in Alabama.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely 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 two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for Elberta or your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Elberta area employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Elberta employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online in your Elberta home. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Pick a Welding Technical Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Elberta area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for schools that are not accredited in the 36530 area. Also, 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 welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help 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. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment in the Elberta area and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Elberta area after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 Elberta welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Elberta home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may 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 offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Elberta, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Welding Vocational School Elberta ALSelecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder.