How to Select a Welder Certification Class near Jasper Alabama
Finding the right welding vocational school near Jasper AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Jasper AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Jasper AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Trade School
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Jasper AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Jasper 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 also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. 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 placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Jasper AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Jasper AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Jasper AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Jasper AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current 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 in the evenings or on weekends near Jasper AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Jasper AL?
Perhaps you live in the Jasper 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.
Jasper is a city in and the county seat ofWalker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, its population was 14,352, up from 14,052 in 2000. The city was once ranked among the world's leading producers of coal.
The first significant growth of the area was realized in 1886, when the Kansas City-Memphis & Birmingham and the Sheffield & Birmingham Railroads were completed through Jasper. The population grew from 200 people in 1886 to more than 3,000 in 1890. In a special edition in 1891, the Mountain Eagle stated there were six coal mines, two sandstone quarries, 400 coke ovens, one foundry and machine shop, two saw mills, one brick works, four hotels, and two banks.
Jasper has several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places. These include the John Hollis Bankhead House, First United Methodist Church, Jasper Downtown Historic District, and Walker County Hospital.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Jasper AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important 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 performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise 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 certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Jasper AL
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Jasper AL.