How to Choose the Right Welding Certificate Program near Montgomery Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding vocational school near Montgomery AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when reviewing welding 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Montgomery AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Montgomery AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Trade Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider 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 considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard 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 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Montgomery AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Montgomery AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Montgomery AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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 Montgomery AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Montgomery AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Montgomery AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished 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 desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Montgomery AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Montgomery Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.
The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Montgomery AL
Selecting the ideal welder training program 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 Where To Learn Welding. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Montgomery AL.