How to Enroll In a Welding Certification Class near Elmore 36025
Finding the right welder vocational school near Elmore AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous welding schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welder trade 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school in the Elmore area. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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 brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for Elmore or your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Elmore area employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Elmore employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online in your Elmore home. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Pick a Welding Technical School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Elmore area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you select 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 a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for schools that are not accredited in the 36025 area. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist 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 refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment in the Elmore area and establish relationships within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication 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 additionally that it has the network of employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Elmore area after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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. Otherwise, ask a local Elmore welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Elmore home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend 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. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Elmore, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Pick the Right Welding Tech Program Elmore ALPicking the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder.