How to Pick a Welding Technical School near Gordon 36343
Locating the ideal welder technical school near Gordon AL is an important first step to beginning your new career 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When 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 considerations when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school in the Gordon area. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees 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 offered in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for Gordon or your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Alabama.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Gordon area employers not only expect 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 offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Gordon employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online in your Gordon home. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welding Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Gordon area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you choose 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 a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools in the 36343 area. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined 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 reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations 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 utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment in the Gordon area and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships in the Gordon area upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Gordon welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Gordon home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs 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 offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Gordon, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Select the Right Welding Tech School Gordon ALChoosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder.