How to Select the Right Welding Technical School near Spanish Fort Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Spanish Fort AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing 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 necessary issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Spanish Fort AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Spanish Fort AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Spanish Fort AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select 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 want to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds 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, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Spanish Fort AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering 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 place 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 Spanish Fort AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify 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 a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Spanish Fort AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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 Spanish Fort AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Spanish Fort AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Spanish Fort AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure 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 emergencies.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Spanish Fort AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills must 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 earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Spanish Fort AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Spanish Fort Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Spanish Fort, Alabama
Spanish Fort is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 6,798. It is a suburb of Mobile and is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area.
In November 2012, Spanish Fort built a community center to house its administrative offices and city amenities. The center is home to the city library, administrative offices, the office of the mayor, and other city-run services. The municipal complex is roughly 30,000 square feet and cost around $5 million to build. It sits on 17-acres of prime land and features a large pond with two fountains and a pavilion. The city also hosts community outreach events along with city council and budget meetings.
Spanish Fort is located at 30°40'7.403" North, 87°55'19.844" West (30.668723, -87.922179), above the east shore of the Blakeley River where it enters Mobile Bay. U.S. Routes 90 and 98 (Battleship Parkway) lead west across the Mobile River and its distributaries 9 miles (14 km) to Mobile. Interstate 10 passes just to the south of Spanish Fort, with access from exits 35 and 38, and leads west across Mobile Bay to Mobile as well.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade Program Spanish Fort AL
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in TIG Welding Certificate. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools 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 need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Spanish Fort AL.