How to Pick a Welder Certificate Program near Albertville Alabama
Locating the ideal welder vocational school near Albertville AL is an important first step to beginning 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 options, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving 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 concerns 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 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Albertville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Albertville 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 offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Vocational Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Albertville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school 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 choose 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 want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic kinds 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 example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Albertville AL for non-accredited schools. 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. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Albertville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Albertville AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Albertville AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Albertville AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Albertville AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Albertville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Albertville 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.
The area which today includes Albertville was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians until their removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. It was, however, near the territory of the Creek nation, and several major trails which afforded communication (or military action) between the two nations crossed the area. It is believed to have been crossed by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his expeditions in 1540.
The first non-indigenous settlement in what is today Albertville began in the 1850s, and the settlement was named for Thomas A. Albert, an early settler who moved from Georgia and was a town leader until his death in 1876. The city was incorporated in 1891. A post office was established in 1910.
At about 4:10 p.m. on April 24, 1908, the city was virtually wiped out by a tornado that became commonly called "The Great Cyclone," or "The Cyclone of 1908." The storm is believed to have killed 35 people across northeastern Alabama, including 15 in Albertville. Relief was largely delivered by railroad, particularly from the nearby city of Gadsden. Trains from Gadsden transported doctors, nurses, and the Queen City Guards, the Alabama militia company based in Gadsden. The commander of the latter, future Gadsden mayor and Col. R.A. Mitchell, reported in a dispatch to Governor B.B. Comer:
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Albertville AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have 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 expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Best Welding Technical School Albertville AL
Choosing the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Albertville AL.