How to Pick a Welding Trade School near Franklin 36444
Finding the ideal welding school near Franklin AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many welding schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school in the Franklin area. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in Alabama.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for Franklin or your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Franklin area employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just 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 types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Franklin employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online in your Franklin home. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Franklin area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you choose 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 single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools in the 36444 area. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment in the Franklin area and establish 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 finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might 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 a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships in the Franklin area upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Franklin 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 should deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Franklin home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Franklin, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Welding Trade School Franklin ALChoosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder.