How to Choose a Welding Training Class near Robertsdale Alabama
Finding the ideal welder trade school near Robertsdale AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Robertsdale AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly 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 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Robertsdale AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Robertsdale AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Robertsdale AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help 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 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 associations within the Robertsdale AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Robertsdale AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Robertsdale AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Robertsdale AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Robertsdale AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Robertsdale AL?
Perhaps you live in the Robertsdale 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.
Robertsdale is located in southern Baldwin County at 30°33'16.034" North, 87°42'20.038" West (30.554454, -87.705566).U.S. Route 90 (Old Spanish Trail) passes through the city, leading west 24 miles (39 km) to Mobile and east 35 miles (56 km) to Pensacola, Florida.
As of the census of 2010, there were 5,276 people, 1,951 households, and 1,392 families residing in the city. The population density was 968 people per square mile (373.6/km²). There were 1,573 housing units at an average density of 357.3 per square mile (137.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 85.3% White, 5.4% Black or African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 6.1% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 9.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 1,951 households out of which 36.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 14.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.7% were non-families. 23.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.64 and the average family size was 3.10.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Robertsdale AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Tech Program Robertsdale AL
Choosing the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final 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. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Robertsdale AL.