How to Find the Right Welding Certification Class near Columbiana Alabama
Choosing the right welder vocational school near Columbiana AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most 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 expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Columbiana AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out 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 qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Columbiana AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Columbiana AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Columbiana AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help 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 place their students. More established 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 Columbiana AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Columbiana AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Columbiana AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Columbiana AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Columbiana AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Columbiana AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Columbiana AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Columbiana Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Columbiana, originally called Columbia, was selected as the county seat of Shelby County in 1826 over rivals Calera and Montevallo. After the selection as the county seat, Columbiana celebrated by drilling holes in a large pine tree and packing it with gunpowder. The tree was blown up and the sound could be heard for miles. Later in 1826, the courthouse was moved to an old school building in Columbiana.
An act of the Alabama Legislature officially changed the name of Shelby County's county seat to Columbiana on January 13, 1832. Columbiana was incorporated on December 5, 1837 with corporate limits one-quarter of a mile in each direction from the public square.
In 1854, the decision was made to build a larger courthouse at the south end of “Silk Stocking Road”, now Main Street. From 1854 to 1908 several additions and changes were made to the courthouse. During the American Civil War, Columbiana was connected to the nearby town of Shelby by the Shelby Iron Company Railroad, which connected the Shelby Iron Works to the Alabama and Tennessee River Railroad. The Iron Works supplied iron to the C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, which moved to Columbiana in 1862 after the fall of Corinth, Mississippi. The Churchill foundry made eight and ten pound shot, eight and ten pound shells, and shells for Blakely rifles. The C.B. Churchill and Company foundry, Shelby Iron Works and the railroad were destroyed by Union forces on March 31, 1865, as part of Wilson's Raid.
Find the Best Welding Vocational School Columbiana AL
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Trade School For Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some 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, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Columbiana AL.