How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Program near Athens Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding trade school near Athens 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Athens AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require 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 supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Athens AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Trade Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Athens AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Athens AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place 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. The 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Athens AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Athens AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Athens AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Athens AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Athens AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless 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 seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Athens AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Athens Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the State of Alabama, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.
The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first Governor of Alabama, and its second Governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.
Find the Right Welding Technical Program Athens AL
Choosing the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Course. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. 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 monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Athens AL.