How to Pick a Welder Training Class near Somerville 35670
Choosing the right welding trade school near Somerville 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 fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welding vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school in the Somerville area. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in Alabama.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for Somerville or your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Somerville area employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Somerville employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online in your Somerville home. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Pick a Welder Vocational Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Somerville area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider 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 program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for schools that are not accredited in the 35670 area. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various 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 assist students in finding employment in the Somerville area and develop relationships within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, 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 affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships in the Somerville area upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think about going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Somerville welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Somerville home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers 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 trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Somerville, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical Program Somerville ALPicking the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder.