How to Find the Right Welder Certification Program near York 36925
Choosing the ideal welder school near York AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous welding schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school in the York area. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in Alabama.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for York or your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Alabama.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many York area employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some 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 already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to York employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online in your York 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 would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Select a Welding Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the York area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you select 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 a single program the school offers, for example 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 recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for schools that are not accredited in the 36925 area. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment in the York area and develop relationships within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication 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 also that it has the network of contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the York area upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think about visiting 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 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local York welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select must be within driving distance of your York home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could 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 offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near York, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Welding Technical Program York ALChoosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder.