How to Choose a Welding Certification Program near Mathews Alabama
Choosing the right welder trade school near Mathews AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Mathews AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Mathews AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. 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 kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Mathews AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Mathews AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 and establish associations within the Mathews AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Mathews AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, 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 Mathews AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Mathews AL home. If you do choose to enroll in 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 degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Mathews AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Mathews AL?
Perhaps you live in the Mathews 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.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Mathews AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. 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 would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Tech Program Mathews AL
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach 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 a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Mathews AL.