How to Pick a Welding Certification Class near Ashville Alabama
Choosing the right welder technical school near Ashville AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Ashville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely 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 2 years to finish and are usually 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Ashville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Ashville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on 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 may want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Ashville AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Ashville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify 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 an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Ashville AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained 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. If not, ask a local Ashville AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you select must be within driving distance of your Ashville AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ashville AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing 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, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ashville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Ashville 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.
Ashville is a city in St. Clair County, Alabama, United States. Its population was 2,212 at the 2010 census, down from 2,260, at which time it was a town. Ashville is the county seat of St. Clair County along with Pell City. It incorporated in 1822.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen climate classification system, Ashville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,260 people, 814 households, and 608 families residing in the town. The population density was 116.9 people per square mile (45.1/km2). There were 905 housing units at an average density of 46.8 per square mile (18.1/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.42% White, 26.55% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.31% Pacific Islander, 1.81% from other races, and 1.55% from two or more races. 2.88% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Ashville AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade School Ashville AL
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Ashville AL.