How to Enroll In the Right Welding Technical School near Fairfield Alabama
Selecting the right welder technical school near Fairfield AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to get 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Fairfield AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish 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 furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Fairfield AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Fairfield AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide 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 the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Fairfield AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Fairfield AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Fairfield AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Fairfield AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Fairfield AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairfield AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Fairfield AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done 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 possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious 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 Fairfield AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Fairfield Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Right Welding Trade School Fairfield AL
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Online Welding School. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Fairfield AL.