How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certification Program near Shelby Alabama
Finding the right welder vocational school near Shelby AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to obtain 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Shelby AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Shelby AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Shelby AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic 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, for example Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Shelby 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 also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Shelby AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Shelby AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Shelby AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Shelby AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Shelby AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Shelby AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly 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 larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Shelby AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Shelby Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Shelby County, Alabama
Shelby County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 195,085. The county seat is Columbiana. The county is named in honor of Isaac Shelby, Governor of Kentucky from 1792 to 1796 and again from 1812 to 1816.
Shelby County was established on February 7, 1818, and it was named for the Revolutionary War hero and the first Governor of Kentucky, Isaac Shelby. Beginning in 1820, the first county seat was located at Shelbyville. This settlement, long defunct, was located within the modern city limits of Pelham. The first courthouse was built of logs. The seat was moved to Columbia, now Columbiana, in 1826. Initially housed in an old school building, a new brick courthouse building was completed in 1854. It is now known as the Old Shelby County Courthouse and houses the Shelby County Museum and Archives. The current limestone courthouse was built from 1905–06, at a cost of $300,000.
Shelby County was the home of an early inland waterway, the Coosa River, and it was also the location of a very early east-west railroad in Alabama that connected Atlanta, Georgia, with locations to its west. Shelby County was also crossed by an early north-south railroad, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad, that connected Louisville, Nashville, Decatur, Birmingham, and Montgomery.
Find the Best Welding Trade Program Shelby AL
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where To Learn To Weld. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Shelby AL.