How to Select the Right Welder Degree Program near Talladega Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder trade school near Talladega AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when evaluating welding vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Talladega AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Talladega AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few 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 various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Technical Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Talladega AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Talladega AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Talladega AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Talladega AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities 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 not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Talladega AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Talladega AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may 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 should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Talladega AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to 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 knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very 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 Talladega AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Talladega Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Talladega County, Alabama
The name Talladega is derived from a Muscogee (Creek) Native American word Tvlvteke, from the Creek tålwa, meaning "town", and åtigi, or "border" -- "Border Town"—a town indicating its location on the boundary between the lands of the Creek tribe and those of the Cherokee and Chickasaw.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 760 square miles (2,000 km2), of which 737 square miles (1,910 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) (3.1%) is water. It is drained by Choccolocco Creek (archaic spelling: Chockolocko) and other streams.
As of the census of 2000, there were 80,321 people, 30,674 households, and 21,901 families residing in the county. The population density was 109 people per square mile (42/km2). There were 34,469 housing units at an average density of 47 per square mile (18/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 67.02% White, 31.55% Black or African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.20% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.27% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. Nearly 1.01% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Find the Best Welding Trade School Talladega AL
Selecting the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in How Many Years Of School To Become A Welder. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are reviewing 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 teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. 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 serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Talladega AL.