How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near Roanoke Alabama
Finding the right welding vocational school near Roanoke AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Roanoke AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Roanoke AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Tech School
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Roanoke AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify 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 organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Roanoke AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined 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 help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older 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 Roanoke AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Roanoke AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Roanoke AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you select must be within driving distance of your Roanoke AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Roanoke AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Roanoke AL?
Perhaps you live in the Roanoke 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.
This was an area of historic occupation by the Creek before treaties to persuade the Native Americans to cede their land, followed by forced migration under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The area was part of a broad part of upland developed as cotton plantations worked by enslaved African Americans. The area is still quite rural.
Initially called High Pine in the 1830s after a nearby creek, it was allegedly burned during an Indian uprising in 1836. Renamed Chulafinee in 1840, it was later renamed again for the hometown of one of the early settlers, Roanoke, Virginia. The city was officially incorporated in December 1890.
Roanoke has three schools served by Roanoke City Schools: Knight Enloe Elementary (K-3), Handley Middle School (4-8), and Handley High School (9-12). On December 1, 2011, the Handley Tigers won the AHSAA Football Class 3A State Championship.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Roanoke AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly 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 want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn 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 larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical School Roanoke AL
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch 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 looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Roanoke AL.