How to Select a Welder Certification Program near Furman 36741
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Furman AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many welding schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when reviewing welding trade 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 wise 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 a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school in the Furman area. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for Furman or your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Furman area employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Furman employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online in your Furman home. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Select a Welder Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Furman area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools in the 36741 area. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 refer 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 Furman area and establish relationships within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Furman area upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Furman welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Furman home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Furman, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School Furman ALPicking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder.