How to Pick a Welding Certification Class near Alberta 36720
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Alberta AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of welding schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish 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 Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school in the Alberta area. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for Alberta or your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Alberta area employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Alberta employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online in your Alberta home. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Pick a Welding Trade Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Alberta area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. 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 example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select 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). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools in the 36720 area. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment in the Alberta area and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Alberta area upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Alberta welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Alberta home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the average 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 experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alberta, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Best Welding Trade School Alberta ALSelecting the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder.