How to Select the Right Welding Certification Program near Calera Alabama
Finding the right welder trade school near Calera AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Calera AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 furnishes a more extensive 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 prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Calera AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Calera AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain 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 pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Calera AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree 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 assistance program. These schools must have associations 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Calera AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Calera AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable 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. If not, ask a local Calera AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Calera AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation 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, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Calera AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Calera AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant 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 must 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 expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Calera AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Calera Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
As of the 2010 census Calera had a population of 11,620, more than tripling its total in 2000, making it the fastest-growing city in Alabama. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Calera is located in southern Shelby County at 33°06′27″N 86°45′00″W / 33.107572°N 86.749964°W / 33.107572; -86.749964. The city limits extend southward into Chilton County along U.S. Route 31, the main highway through the city. Interstate 65 passes through the eastern side of the city, with access from exits 228, 231, and 234.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63.1 km2), of which 24.1 square miles (62.4 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 1.17%, is water.
Find the Right Welding Tech Program Calera AL
Choosing the best 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 How To Become A Certified Welder. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Calera AL.