How to Select the Right Welding Certification Course near Ashford Alabama
Locating the right welder vocational school near Ashford AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Ashford AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Ashford AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Programs
As soon as 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 a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Ashford AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at 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 furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic 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 select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Ashford AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Ashford AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were in 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Ashford AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. 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 Ashford AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Ashford AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma 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 should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ashford AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Ashford AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Ashford AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Ashford Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Ashford is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town was incorporated in June 1891. For most of its history, it was a center for naval stores production, pulpwood harvesting, and cotton agriculture. The population was 2,148 at the 2010 census, up from 1,853 at the 2000 census.
Ashford is located slightly northeast of the center of Houston County at 31°11′3″N 85°14′7″W / 31.18417°N 85.23528°W / 31.18417; -85.23528 (31.184032, -85.235286).U.S. Route 84 passes through the southern part of the town, leading west 9 miles (14 km) to Dothan and southeast 24 miles (39 km) to Donalsonville, Georgia. The Chattahoochee River, which forms the Georgia state line, is 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Ashford on US 84.
Ashford's former mayor is Jonathon Grecu, he resigned from office on December 31, 2017. On January 8, 2018 Carole Barfield took office. As of October 2018, the current mayor is Carole Barfield, and City Council members are Gary Gibson, Ronnie Whitehead, Alan Anderson, James Smith, and Denise Herndon. The recreation director for the City of Ashford is Louis Edmondson. The City Clerk is currently open for employment.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade Program Ashford AL
Selecting the ideal 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 How To Become A Welder. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Ashford AL.