How to Choose the Right Welding Technical School near Bay Minette Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding school near Bay Minette AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Bay Minette AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop 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 two years to complete and are most often 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.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Bay Minette 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 offered based on the kind 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 various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means 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 make certain that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Tech Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Bay Minette AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Bay Minette AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations 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 assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Bay Minette AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who enrolled in 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Bay Minette AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Bay Minette AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Bay Minette AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs 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 some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bay Minette AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Bay Minette AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Bay Minette AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Bay Minette Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Bay Minette, Alabama
In the first days of Baldwin County, the town of McIntosh Bluff (now in Mobile County, west of Baldwin County) on the Tombigbee River was the county seat. After being transferred to the town of Blakeley in 1810, the county seat was later moved to the city of Daphne in 1868. In 1900, by an act of the legislature of Alabama, the county seat was authorized for relocation to the city of Bay Minette; however, the city of Daphne resisted relocation. The citizens of Bay Minette moved the county records from Daphne in the middle of the night on October 11–12, 1901 and delivered them to the city of Bay Minette - where the Baldwin County seat remains to this day. A mural for the new post office built in 1937 was commissioned by the WPA and painted by Hilton Leech, to commemorate this event.
In September 2011, the town attempted to enact a program called "Operation Restore Our Community". It would have allowed those convicted of a misdemeanor to substitute imprisonment with mandatory church attendance for one year. However, this program was challenged due to violating separation of church and state, and the program's start was delayed for judicial review. It appears to have been scrapped.
Bay Minette is located near the center of Baldwin County in southern Alabama at 30°53′0″N 87°46′38″W / 30.88333°N 87.77722°W / 30.88333; -87.77722 (30.883446, -87.777183). It is sited on high ground 5 miles (8 km) east of the Mobile River/Tensaw River valley and 6 miles (10 km) west of the Florida border formed by the Perdido River. U.S. Route 31 passes through the center of the city, leading south to Spanish Fort and northeast to Atmore. Interstate 65 passes about 5 miles (8 km) north of the city, with access from exit 34 (State Route 59) and exit 37 (State Route 287).
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade Program Bay Minette AL
Picking the ideal welding training program 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 Certificate. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Bay Minette AL.