How to Select a Welder Certification Program near Double Springs 35553
Finding the right welder vocational school near Double Springs AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous welding schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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 Classes
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school in the Double Springs area. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for Double Springs or your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Double Springs area employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Double Springs employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online in your Double Springs home. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Pick a Welding Trade School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Double Springs area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools in the 35553 area. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
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 help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment in the Double Springs area and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Double Springs area after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Double Springs welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Double Springs home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Double Springs, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Double Springs ALPicking the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder.