How to Select the Right Welder Trade School near Theodore Alabama
Locating the ideal welding school near Theodore AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when reviewing welder 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 prudent to establish 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Theodore AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally 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 additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Theodore AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some 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 types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also 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 just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Theodore AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Theodore AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Theodore 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 finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Theodore AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Theodore AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Theodore AL home. If you do choose 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 true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Theodore AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Theodore AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Theodore AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Theodore Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Theodore is a census-designated place (CDP) in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population was 6,130 at the 2010 census. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. Prior to 1900 this area was known as Clements, but is now named for William Theodore Hieronymous (a sawmill operator and postmaster).
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,811 people, 2,483 households, and 1,926 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 571.6 people per square mile (220.6/km²). There were 2,697 housing units at an average density of 226.3 per square mile (87.4/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 71.11% White, 25.58% Black or African American, 0.62% Native American, 1.29% Asian, 0.41% from other races, and 1.00% from two or more races. 1.38% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,483 households out of which 38.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.6% were married couples living together, 19.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.4% were non-families. 19.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.73 and the average family size was 3.11.
Pick the Best Welding Trade Program Theodore AL
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Training In Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Theodore AL.