How to Enroll In the Right Welding Training Program near Clayton Alabama
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Clayton AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to obtain 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Clayton AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Clayton AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few 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 types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Clayton AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people consider 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 career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Clayton AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Clayton AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Clayton AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Clayton AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Clayton AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Clayton AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Clayton AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Clayton AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Clayton Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Clayton has been the county seat since 1834, two years after the creation of Barbour County. Clayton is located geographically in the center of the county. The town was located at the headwaters of the Pea and Choctawhatchee rivers on the historic road from Hobdy's Bridge over the Pea River to Eufaula on the Chattahoochee River. By 1818, there were a few settlers in the area around Clayton, but settlement began in earnest around 1823. The town was named for Augustine S. Clayton, a Georgia jurist and congressman. Clayton became the county seat of Barbour County in 1833 and was laid out on a central courthouse square plan. The first Circuit Court was held in Clayton on September 23, 1833. The Clayton post office was established in September 1835 with John F. Keener as postmaster. Clayton, with a population of 200, was incorporated on December 21, 1841, by the Alabama Legislature. Its first mayor, after incorporation, was John Jackson.
Clayton has a rich heritage with four properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Clayton is also known for its Whiskey Bottle Tombstone, which was featured in Ripley's Believe It or Not!.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Clayton has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
Select the Ideal Welding Trade Program Clayton AL
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Education. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot 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 current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Clayton AL.