How to Choose the Right Welding Certification Course near Alabaster Alabama
Locating the right welder school near Alabaster AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welder trade 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 wise to develop 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 Classes
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Alabaster AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced 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 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 check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Alabaster AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring 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 knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Alabaster AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two 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 example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, 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 might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Alabaster AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered 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 assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Alabaster AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced 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 verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Alabaster AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, 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 using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Alabaster AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Alabaster AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Alabaster AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Alabaster AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Alabaster Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Alabaster is a city and southern suburb of Birmingham in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 30,352. According to the 2013 Census Estimates, the city had a population of 31,342. Alabaster is the 16th largest city in Alabama by number of residents.
Alabaster mostly occupies the Cahaba and Opossum Valleys, which are divided by the Pine Ridge that runs north to south. To the east and west, both valleys are flanked by parallel mountain ridges that locally run north to south, but are a part of a larger system of ridges that generally runs north-east to south-west (the tailing ends of the Appalachian foothills). The valleys are drained by small creeks (Buck Creek, Beaverdam Creek) which flow into the Cahaba River.
George L. Scott, Sr., an Alabaster pioneer, owned and operated Alabaster Lime Co. His shipping point was known as “Scott Rock.” Later, housing was built to accommodate some of the employees, and the community acquired its name Alabaster from the "white calcium carbonate mineral." The First Bank of Alabaster opened in 1952, and its president was George L. Scott, Jr., who later became the first mayor of Alabaster. The first attempt in 1952 to incorporate Alabaster failed. In January 1953, the petition was again filed, and on February 23, 1953, Alabaster was officially incorporated with a favorable vote of 79 to 23, and 427 residing inhabitants. In 1955, the Alabaster Water and Gas Board was formed.
Find the Best Welding Trade School Alabaster AL
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Certification. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Alabaster AL.