How to Find the Right Welding Certification Class near Alexander City Alabama
Locating the right welding trade school near Alexander City AL is an important first step to starting 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 narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore 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 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Alexander City AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Alexander City AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Alexander City AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Alexander City 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 Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Alexander City AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Alexander City AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure 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 not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Alexander City AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Alexander City AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alexander City AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Alexander City AL?
Perhaps you live in the Alexander City Alabama area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Alexander City, Alabama
Alexander City, known to locals as "Alex City", is a city in Tallapoosa County, Alabama, United States, with a population of some 14,875. It is known for Lake Martin with its 750 miles (1,210 km) of wooded shoreline and 44,000 acres (18,000 ha) of water. Lake Martin stands on the Tallapoosa River and offers boating, swimming, fishing, golfing, and camping. Many neighborhoods and luxury homes are located on the lake.
Alexander City was incorporated in 1872 as Youngsville, after its founder James Young. In 1873, the Savannah and Memphis Railroad came to the city. The city was renamed in honor of the railroad's President Edward Porter Alexander, hero of the Battle of Gettysburg for the Confederate States.
On June 13, 1902, at 1 pm, a fire broke out in the Alexander City Machine shop and destroyed much of the town. At the time, Alexander City did not have a water system and all buildings, including the telegraph office, post office and three banks were burned.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Alexander City AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless 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 better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Trade School Alexander City AL
Choosing the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small 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 course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Alexander City AL.