How to Select a Welding Training Class near Oakman Alabama
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Oakman AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns 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 beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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 Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options to get 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Oakman AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop 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 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded 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 make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Oakman AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Oakman AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose 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 want to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Oakman AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Oakman AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in 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 caliber 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 Oakman AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Oakman AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Oakman AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oakman AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Oakman AL?
Perhaps you live in the Oakman 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.
Oakman is a town in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 789, down from 944 in 2000. Initially named Day (or Day's) Gap, it was renamed Oakman and incorporated in 1895.
As of the census of 2000, there were 944 people, 386 households, and 265 families residing in the town. The population density was 303.1 people per square mile (117.2/km²). There were 449 housing units at an average density of 144.1 per square mile (55.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 79.66% White, 19.60% Black or African American, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 386 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Oakman AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting 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 discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Oakman AL
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Oakman AL.