How to Enroll In a Welder Trade School near Kellyton Alabama
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Kellyton AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Kellyton AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. 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 experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Kellyton AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder trade school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Kellyton AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure 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, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Kellyton AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Kellyton AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Kellyton AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Kellyton AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Kellyton AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kellyton AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those options. 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 should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Kellyton AL?
Perhaps you live in the Kellyton 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 very much a manual kind of profession, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Kellyton AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with 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 would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech Program Kellyton AL
Picking the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Kellyton AL.