How to Pick a Welder Technical School near Louisville 36048
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Louisville AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous welding schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school in the Louisville area. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available 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 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for Louisville or your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Louisville area employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Louisville employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online in your Louisville home. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like 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 Choose a Welder Vocational School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Louisville area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools in the 36048 area. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing 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 placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment in the Louisville area and establish associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied 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 high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships in the Louisville area upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice 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 taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure 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 Louisville welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance 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 welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Louisville home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Louisville, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Welding Trade Program Louisville ALChoosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder.