How to Select the Right Welding Trade School near Oxford Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding vocational school near Oxford AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial 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 starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of 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 available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Oxford AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Oxford AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things 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 kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Oxford AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Oxford AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other 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 establish associations within the Oxford AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could 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 a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Oxford AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder 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 taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Oxford AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Oxford AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oxford AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm 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 Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Oxford AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with 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 work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Oxford AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Oxford Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the State of Alabama. The population was 21,348 at the 2010 census, an increase of 46.3% since the 2000 Census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Founded in the early 1850s, Oxford was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated, in 1852. The name "Oxford" was due to the presence of a narrow crossing of Chocolocco Creek that allowed farmers to ford cattle from one side of the creek to the other. Since 1970, Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south and west, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970, it was all in Calhoun County, but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
A smaller municipality, Hobson City, was once a part of Oxford. The area, then known as the Mooree Quarter, is one square mile, and is located north and west of Oxford, and south and west of Anniston. In the last years of the 19th century, according to tradition, in the course of political elections, a black man managed to be elected justice of the peace in Oxford. This being unacceptable to the city fathers, they appealed to the powers in the state capital, and an 'arrangement' was made. The city boundaries were redrawn, in similar fashion to a gerrymander, and the quarter was excluded, becoming a town unto itself. The new town became incorporated on August 16, 1899 as Hobson City, taking the name of a naval hero of the Spanish–American War. The intention was that the largely black population of this quarter would no longer skew the elections of the now almost exclusively white Oxford. Another result was the creation of only the second town in the United States (after Eatonville, Florida) with 100% black government, and an almost 100% black population (at least at first).
Choose the Right Welding Technical School Oxford AL
Picking the best welder 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 Industrial Welding School. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Oxford AL.