How to Choose a Welder Certificate Program near Excel 36439
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Excel AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation 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 best one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school in the Excel area. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in Alabama.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for Excel or your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder in Alabama.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Excel area employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Excel employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online in your Excel 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 would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Pick a Welder Vocational School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Excel area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for schools that are not accredited in the 36439 area. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must 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 Excel area and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean 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 a good indicator of the caliber 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 assist students secure employment or apprenticeships in the Excel area upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding 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 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Excel welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Excel home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Excel, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Ideal Welding Trade School Excel ALSelecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder.