How to Enroll In a Welder Degree Program near Midway 36053
Locating the right welder trade school near Midway AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of welding schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school in the Midway area. You can receive 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. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for Midway or your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder in Alabama.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Midway area employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Midway employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online in your Midway home. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Midway area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, 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 acknowledged accrediting agency, 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 can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for schools that are not accredited in the 36053 area. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment in the Midway area and develop associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships in the Midway area after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think about visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Midway welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Midway home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Midway, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Select the Right Welding Trade School Midway ALChoosing the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way 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. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder.