How to Pick the Right Welder Trade School near Auburn Alabama
Finding the right welding trade school near Auburn AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when examining welder technical 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 Training Programs
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Auburn AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Auburn AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, 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 Auburn AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Auburn AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Auburn AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Auburn AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Auburn AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Auburn AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Auburn AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to 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 knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Auburn AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Auburn Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Auburn is a city in Lee County, Alabama, United States. It is the largest city in eastern Alabama with a 2016 population of 63,118. It is a principal city of the Auburn-Opelika Metropolitan Area. The Auburn-Opelika, AL MSA with a population of 158,991, along with the Columbus, GA-AL MSA and Tuskegee, Alabama, comprises the greater Columbus-Auburn-Opelika, GA-AL CSA, a region home to 501,649 residents.
Auburn is a historic college town and is the home of Auburn University. It is Alabama's fastest-growing metropolitan area and the nineteenth fastest-growing metro area in the United States since 1990. U.S. News ranked Auburn among its top ten list of best places to live in the United States for the year 2009. The city's unofficial nickname is “The Loveliest Village On The Plains,” taken from a line in the poem The Deserted Village by Oliver Goldsmith: “Sweet Auburn! loveliest village of the plain...”
Inhabited in antiquity by the Creek, the land on which Auburn sits was opened to settlement in 1832 with the Treaty of Cusseta. The first settlers arrived in the winter of 1836 from Harris County, Georgia. These settlers, led by Judge John J. Harper, intended to build a town that would be the religious and educational center for the area.
Find the Best Welding Tech School Auburn AL
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welder Program. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Auburn AL.