How to Enroll In the Right Welder Training Class near Leeds Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder school near Leeds AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Leeds AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Leeds AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Leeds AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you pick 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 a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Leeds AL for non-accredited schools. 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 Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help 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. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Leeds 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 welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Leeds AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Leeds AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Leeds AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Leeds AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Leeds AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Leeds AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Leeds Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Leeds is a tri-county municipality located in Jefferson, St. Clair, and Shelby counties in the State of Alabama and is an eastern suburb of Birmingham. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 11,773.
The War of 1812, geography, geology, and three cultures shaped the history of Leeds. Lying at the crossroads of desecrated ancient Native-American paths in the center of Alabama, Leeds drew European and African-American settlers to a land of fertile growing seasons and rich sources of coal and mineral ore. The early settlers built churches and schools with many remaining in Cedar Grove, Oak Ridge, Ohanafeefee and Mt. Pleasant. The principal survey of Leeds was entered into Jefferson County Map Book 10, page 21, in 1908. The settlement, dating to 1818 and incorporating on April 27, 1887 as "Leeds", has existed along the banks of the Little Cahaba River; beside an historic stagecoach route; and along two large railroads for the greater part of American History.
James Hamilton, a Scottish-Irish American veteran of the War of 1812 and first sheriff of Shelby County, settled in Cedar Grove in 1816. John Richard Ingram Pashal Stewart, a Cherokee English teacher and American veteran of the War of 1812, settled at Ohanafeefee Village c.1840. At Oak Ridge in 1820 or 1821, European settlers formed Shiloh Cumberland Presbyterian Church, the first CPC congregation in middle Alabama. By 1887, the original railroad pioneers included free African-American settlers who came to work at the Leeds cement plant and the Central of Georgia as the Georgia Pacific railroads. Some gravitated to historic Mt. Pleasant Church where a handful of freed slaves had founded Scott City, Hillard Holley, Ciscero Davis, Jeff Harris, and Bill Johnson started Leeds Negro/Primary School in 1921.
Choose the Best Welding Vocational Program Leeds AL
Picking the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Aluminum Welding Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Leeds AL.