How to Select a Welder Certificate Program near Blountsville Alabama
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Blountsville AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of people 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 least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welder trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, 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 brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Blountsville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working 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.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Blountsville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech School
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Blountsville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide 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 welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Blountsville 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.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations 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 Blountsville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Blountsville AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Blountsville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Blountsville AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma 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. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Blountsville AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Blountsville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Blountsville 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.
Blount County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature on February 6, 1818, from land ceded to the federal government by the Creek Nation on August 9, 1814. It was named for Gov. Willie G. Blount of Tennessee, who provided assistance to settlers in Alabama during the Creek War of 1813-14. It lies in the northeastern section of the state, generally known as the mineral region.
What became Blountsville appears on an 1819 map as the mixed Creek/Cherokee Native American village of "Wassausey" (meaning Bear Meat Cabin, the name of an Indian translator who lived there). The town was established by Caleb Fryley and Johnny Jones in 1816 as Bear Meat Cabin. The post office was opened as Blountsville on October 20, 1825, and incorporated on December 13, 1827. It was the county seat until 1889 when the government was moved to Oneonta.
There were many schools in the town in the early years: The Academy, Blount College and the District Agricultural School, plus the public schools. The Blount County Courthouse and jail was built in 1833 and remained there until it was moved to Oneonta. A major crossroads in early Alabama, Blountsville became a Confederate depot for the cavalry. Confederate forces led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union forces led by General Abel Streight skirmished briefly in the town on May 1, 1863, and Major General Lovell H. Rousseau and his Union cavalry occupied the town in July 1864. Blount College was in the building that was originally the courthouse. It was established in 1890. The beautiful Blountsville United Methodist Church was established in 1818 and is the oldest building in Blountsville and is still in use today. Another old building in Blountsville was once known as the Barclift House. Built in 1834 as Hendricks Tavern, it is now owned and is being restored by the Ortiz family.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Blountsville AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to 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 expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Vocational School Blountsville AL
Picking the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Blountsville AL.