How to Pick a Welder Certification Class near Greensboro 36744
Finding the right welder school near Greensboro AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous welding schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise 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 Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school in the Greensboro area. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in Alabama.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for Greensboro or your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Greensboro area employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Greensboro employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online in your Greensboro home. These skills have to 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 certificate or degree 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 Select a Welder Trade Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Greensboro area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered for non-accredited schools in the 36744 area. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place 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 assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment in the Greensboro area and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might 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 an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships in the Greensboro area after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think about visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Greensboro welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Greensboro home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Greensboro, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Pick the Best Welding Vocational Program Greensboro ALChoosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder.