How to Find the Right Welding Certification Course near Piedmont Alabama
Locating the right welding school near Piedmont AL is an essential first step to launching 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 fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Piedmont AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Piedmont AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few 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 various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Piedmont AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Piedmont 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 as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Piedmont AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Piedmont AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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 Piedmont AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Piedmont AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Piedmont AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Piedmont AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must 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 knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Piedmont AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Piedmont Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Piedmont is a city in Calhoun and Cherokee counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 4,878 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is approximately one hour and fifteen minutes West of Atlanta, one and a half hours North East of Birmingham, twenty minutes North of Anniston, Alabama and twenty five minutes east of Gadsden, Alabama. The campus of Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama is approximately ten miles South of Piedmont. The city is nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountain chain and is surrounded by mountains on the city's southern and eastern sides. The area is home to Duggar Mountain, which is Alabama's second highest point, only trailing Mt. Cheaha by a small margin. Piedmont is a popular tourist destination for outdoor enthusiasts due to its close proximity to many nearby hiking trails, streams and rivers, mountains, the Duggar Mountain Wilderness, the Talladega National Forret and Coleman Lake. Weiss Lake is fourteen miles North of Piedmont and is known as "The Crappie Capital of the World." Piedmont is home to Terrapin Creek, which is a popular destination for kayaking, canoing, camping, swimming and fishing. Piedmont is also home to the Chief Ladiga Trail, which is a paved trail utilized for walking, jogging and bicycling. The trail runs through downtown Piedmont and runs all the way to Atlanta to the East and to Anniston, Alabama to the South and West. The city's school system is an award winning and nationally recognised education system. The school system has state of the art facilities, including artificial turf on the football field and an indoor practice facility for the football team, which is also utilized as a community storm shelter. The school systems sports teams have won state championships in football, track and field and wrestling and have won numerous area/region championships in men/women's basketball, baseball, softball and men's golf. Two state highways, AL-9 and AL-21 run through the city limits of Piedmont, as well as US Highway 278. Many surrounding communities are served by the 36272 ZIP code, including Spring Garden, Rock Run, Knighten's Crossroads, and Nance's Creek. The current mayor is Bill Baker, who was chosen by the city council to lead after elected mayor Rick Freeman resigned due to medical issues.
The area now known as Piedmont is a community that began in the early 1840s, located at the crossroads of two early post roads. Major Jacob Forney Dailey of North Carolina came to Alabama in 1848 and bought land in present-day Piedmont. Major Dailey named the area Cross Plains, and an official post office with that name was established on September 22, 1851.
In Reconstruction-era Alabama, an incident at Cross Plains affected race relations and the future of the northeast section of the state for generations as a result of the lynching of William Luke, a northern missionary, and several other men in 1870. In that year, the new northern-owned railroad to connect Washington, D.C. and the North with New Orleans was to have its headquarters near the small northeast Alabama town, at Patona. After the Ku Klux Klan-led lynchings, however, the headquarters was moved, and the town never achieved the dominant position in Calhoun County, with Anniston, founded the next year, achieving that status instead.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical Program Piedmont AL
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding College Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Piedmont AL.