How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Cottondale Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Cottondale AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations 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 starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 Cottondale AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Cottondale AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Cottondale AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like 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 can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Cottondale AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Cottondale AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Cottondale AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Cottondale AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Cottondale AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cottondale AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Cottondale AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, 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 have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Cottondale AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Cottondale Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Richard Price Rummonds
Richard Price Rummonds (also known as Richard-Gabriel Price Rummonds), one of the foremost handpress printers of the late twentieth century, is also an author, publisher, typographer, and historian of printing. His two books on nineteenth-century printing, Printing on the Iron Handpress and Nineteenth-Century Printing Practices and the Iron Handpress, comprehensively describe the history, operation and merits of the iron handpress.
Born on April 26, 1931, in Long Beach, California, Rummonds was raised in Sacramento, California. He attended Syracuse University in 1949–1950, in the School of Fine Arts, with the intention of majoring in set and costume design and the University of California at Berkeley intermittently between 1950 and 1954, where he majored in English and Creative Writing. During this period he was on the staff of Occident, the student literary magazine, of which he became the editor for the Spring 1954 issue.
Rummonds began printing in Quito, Ecuador in 1966, using the Plain Wrapper Press imprint. His first book was a selection of his own poems. The following year in Buenos Aires, Argentina, he printed a book of his short stories.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade School Cottondale AL
Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Certification Programs. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Cottondale AL.