How to Enroll In the Right Welding Trade School near Huntsville Alabama
Choosing the right welder school near Huntsville AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Huntsville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. 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 working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Huntsville AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Huntsville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose 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 may need to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Huntsville AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing 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 must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Huntsville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Huntsville AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Huntsville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Huntsville AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Huntsville AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Huntsville AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Huntsville AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Huntsville Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Huntsville is a city in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. It is the county seat of Madison County but extends west into neighboring Limestone County and south into Morgan County.
It was founded in 1805 and became an incorporated town in 1811. The city grew across nearby hills north of the Tennessee River, adding textile mills, then munitions factories, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and the United States Army Aviation and Missile Command nearby at the Redstone Arsenal. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Huntsville to its "America's Dozen Distinctive Destinations for 2010" list.
The city's population was 180,105 in 2010, making it Alabama's fourth-largest city. Huntsville is the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area. The Huntsville metropolitan area's population was 417,593 in 2010, making it the second most populous metropolitan area in the state. The Huntsville metro's population reached 462,693 by 2018.
Find the Best Welding Trade School Huntsville AL
Choosing the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Online Classes. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Huntsville AL.