How to Pick a Welder Certification Class near Marion 36756
Enrolling in the right welder technical school near Marion AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of welding schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school in the Marion area. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in Alabama.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one 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 additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for Marion or your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Marion 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 wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Marion employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical 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 give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online in your Marion home. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Choose a Welding Tech School
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Marion area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools in the 36756 area. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment in the Marion area and establish relationships within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships in the Marion area after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think about going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Marion welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Marion home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Marion, confirm that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School Marion ALPicking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend 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 proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder.