How to Select the Right Welding Certification Course near Bessemer Alabama
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Bessemer AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Bessemer AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Bessemer AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Bessemer AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select 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 need to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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 get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Bessemer AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Bessemer AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean 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 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 Bessemer AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Bessemer AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although 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 school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Bessemer AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bessemer AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Bessemer AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need 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 perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Bessemer AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Bessemer Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Bessemer is a city southwest of Birmingham in Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. The population was 27,456 at the 2010 Census. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, AL Metropolitan Statistical Area, of which Jefferson County is the center. It developed rapidly as an industrial city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In 2019 it was named Alabama's "Worst City to Live in" by 24/7 Wall Street.
The town was founded in the postbellum era by the Bessemer Land and Improvement Company, named after Henry Bessemer and owned by coal magnate Henry F. DeBardeleben. He had inherited Daniel Pratt's investments. The mayor and councilmen voted to incorporate the city of Bessemer on September 9, 1887. Located 16 miles southwest of Birmingham, Bessemer grew rapidly and its promoters believed that it might overtake the other city in economic power.
Given the iron ore, coal and limestone deposits in the area, the city became a center of steelmaking from about 1890 through the 20th century. It attracted rural migrants from across the South, as well as European immigrants. By the 1950s, the city was majority African American in population.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical School Bessemer AL
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Technical School. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are examining 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 instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine 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 final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Bessemer AL.