How to Select the Right Welder Training Program near Alexander City Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding school near Alexander City AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to get 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Alexander City AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to teach 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 two years to complete 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 furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Alexander City AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder vocational school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Alexander City AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you choose 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 an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Alexander City AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older 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 Alexander City AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Alexander City AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three 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 up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Alexander City AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Alexander City AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alexander City AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Alexander City AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Alexander City AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Alexander City Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (18,000 ha) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
Select the Best Welding Trade Program Alexander City AL
Selecting the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welder Class. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Alexander City AL.