How to Pick a Welding Training Class near Opelika 36801
Finding the ideal welder school near Opelika AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous welding schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school in the Opelika area. You can obtain 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for Opelika or your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Opelika area employers not only require a degree or certificate 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. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Opelika employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online in your Opelika home. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate 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 extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Opelika area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical 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 a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for schools that are not accredited in the 36801 area. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment in the Opelika area and establish relationships within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Opelika area upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three 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 taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Opelika welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Opelika home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Opelika, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain 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 emergencies.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical School Opelika ALChoosing the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder.