How to Choose the Right Welder Certification Class near Madison Alabama
Finding the right welding trade school near Madison AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating 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 develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Madison AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often 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.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Madison AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. 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 specific types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally 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 just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Madison AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider 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 looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Madison AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 Madison AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Madison AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Madison AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Madison AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Madison AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure 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 because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Madison AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Madison AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Madison Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Madison County, Alabama
Madison County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 334,811, making it the third-most populous county in Alabama. Its county seat is Huntsville. The county is named in honor of James Madison, fourth President of the United States and the first President to visit the state of Alabama. Madison County covers parts of the former Decatur County.
Madison County was established on December 13, 1808 by the governor of the Mississippi Territory. It is recognized as the "birthplace" of Alabama, which was founded there on December 14, 1819. For much of the county's history, the economy revolved mainly around agriculture. Madison County was one of the largest cotton-producing counties in the state, and textile mills operated around the county.
This changed when a group of German rocket scientists, led by Wernher von Braun, came to Redstone Arsenal in 1950. They developed, among others, the Redstone rocket, which was modified to launch the first two Americans into space. Tens of thousands of jobs came to the area as a result of the Space Race, and the population of Madison County rose from 72,903 in 1950 to an estimated 2015 population of 353,089.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade School Madison AL
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in College Welding. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are evaluating 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 instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Madison AL.