How to Choose a Welding Technical School near Eclectic Alabama
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Eclectic AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Eclectic AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Eclectic AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind 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 various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational School
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Eclectic AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you select 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 confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Eclectic AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Eclectic AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who joined 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Eclectic AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar 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 Eclectic AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Eclectic AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Eclectic AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll 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 due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Eclectic AL?
Perhaps you live in the Eclectic 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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,037 people, 409 households, and 280 families residing in the town. The population density was 244.7 people per square mile (94.4/km2). There were 459 housing units at an average density of 108.3 per square mile (41.8/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 78.11% White, 19.19% Black or African American, 0.96% Native American, 0.10% Asian, 0.87% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. 1.83% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 409 households out of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.7% were married couples living together, 16.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.14.
In the town, the population was spread out with 30.1% under the age of 18, 6.4% from 18 to 24, 28.4% from 25 to 44, 19.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.9 males.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Eclectic AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Eclectic AL
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Eclectic AL.