How to Choose the Right Welder Training Program near Oakman Alabama
Choosing the right welding technical school near Oakman AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welder technical 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 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 several options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Oakman AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Oakman AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Oakman AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction 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 tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Oakman AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Oakman AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Oakman AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Oakman AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Oakman AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true 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 needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. 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, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oakman AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Oakman AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, 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 must 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 possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Oakman AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Oakman Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Oakman is a town in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 789, down from 944 in 2000. Initially named Day (or Day's) Gap, it was renamed Oakman and incorporated in 1895.
As of the census of 2000, there were 944 people, 386 households, and 265 families residing in the town. The population density was 303.1 people per square mile (117.2/km²). There were 449 housing units at an average density of 144.1 per square mile (55.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 79.66% White, 19.60% Black or African American, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 386 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
Pick the Ideal Welding Vocational School Oakman AL
Picking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Colleges That Offer Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Oakman AL.