How to Pick a Welding Certification Program near Pennington Alabama
Locating the right welder vocational school near Pennington AL is an essential first step to beginning 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welding technical 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options available to receive 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Pennington AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Pennington AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Tech School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Pennington AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick 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). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Pennington AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 establish relationships within the Pennington AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who joined 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Pennington AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. 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 Pennington AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Pennington AL home. If you do opt 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 especially true for welder diploma 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 regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pennington AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Pennington AL?
Perhaps you live in the Pennington 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 353 people, 142 households, and 103 families residing in the town. The population density was 188.6 people per square mile (72.9/km²). There were 197 housing units at an average density of 105.3 per square mile (40.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 64.31% White, 34.84% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.57% from other races.
There were 142 households out of which 35.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.2% were married couples living together, 15.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.8% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town, the population was spread out with 28.6% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 28.6% from 25 to 44, 22.7% from 45 to 64, and 13.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 98.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Pennington AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Technical Program Pennington AL
Selecting the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different 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. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Pennington AL.