How to Pick a Welder Certification Program near Auburn University Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding technical school near Auburn University AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Training Courses
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Auburn University AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Auburn University AL 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 available dependent on 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Auburn University AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select 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 may want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Auburn University AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Auburn University AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Auburn University AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Auburn University AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Auburn University AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Auburn University AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Auburn University AL?
Perhaps you live in the Auburn University Alabama area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Auburn University (AU or Auburn) is a public research and Land-grant university in Auburn, Alabama. With more than 23,000 undergraduate students and a total enrollment of more than 30,000 with 1,260 faculty members, Auburn is the second largest university in Alabama. It is one of the state's two public flagship universities. The University is classified as an RI: Doctoral Research - Very High Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.
Auburn was chartered on February 1, 1856, as East Alabama Male College, a private liberal arts school affiliated with the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. In 1872, under the Morrill Act, it became the state's first public land-grant university and was renamed as the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama. In 1892, it became the first four-year coeducational school in Alabama, and in 1899 was renamed Alabama Polytechnic Institute (API) to reflect its changing mission. In 1960, its name was changed to Auburn University to acknowledge the varied academic programs and larger curriculum of a major university.
The Alabama Legislature chartered the institution as the East Alabama Male College on February 1, 1856, coming under the guidance of the Methodist Church in 1859. Its first president was Reverend William J. Sasnett, and the school opened its doors in 1859 to a student body of eighty and a faculty of ten.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Auburn University AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. 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 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 very cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Technical Program Auburn University AL
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Auburn University AL.
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