How to Choose a Welding Certification Class near Tuscumbia Alabama
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Tuscumbia AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Tuscumbia AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Tuscumbia AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Technical Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Tuscumbia AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. 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 need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Tuscumbia AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing 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. These schools should have associations 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 relationships within the Tuscumbia AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication 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 Tuscumbia AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Tuscumbia AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Tuscumbia AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tuscumbia AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Tuscumbia AL?
Perhaps you live in the Tuscumbia 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.
Tuscumbia was the hometown of Helen Keller (Ivy Green) and much of the city is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Tuscumbia Historic District. The city serves as the location for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.
Tuscumbia had its beginnings when the Michael Dixon family arrived about 1816. They traded with Chief Tucumseh for the Tuscumbia Valley and built their home at the head of the big spring. From these humble dwellings quickly developed a village known as the Big Spring Community. The men of the community requested that the state legislature incorporate them as a city. The town was incorporated in 1820 as Ococoposa and is one of Alabama's oldest towns. In 1821, its name was changed to Big Spring and on December 22, 1822, to Tuscumbia, after the Chief Rainmaker of the Chickasaws.
Although shoals on the nearby Tennessee River made the river nearly impassable, a federal highway completed in 1820 provided the area with good access to markets. Tuscumbia soon became the center for agriculture in northern Alabama. A line to the town on the Tuscumbia, Courtland and Decatur Railroad was completed in 1832, and by 1850 Tuscumbia was a major railroad hub for train traffic throughout the South.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Tuscumbia AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Vocational Program Tuscumbia AL
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important 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 examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Tuscumbia AL.