How to Enroll In a Welder Degree Program near Safford 36773
Selecting the right welding school near Safford AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many welding schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when examining welder technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school in the Safford area. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in Alabama.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for Safford or your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Safford area employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Safford employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide 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 use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online in your Safford home. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful 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
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Safford area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance 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 recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools in the 36773 area. Finally, 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. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment in the Safford area and develop relationships within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher 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 employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships in the Safford area after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think about going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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 Safford welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Safford home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure 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 Safford, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational School Safford ALChoosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welding school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder.