How to Choose a Welding Technical School near Carrollton Alabama
Finding the ideal welder vocational school near Carrollton AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating welding technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Carrollton AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned 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 two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out 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 supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Carrollton AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few 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 specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder vocational school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Carrollton AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people consider 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 considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive 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 itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Carrollton AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Carrollton 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 crucial that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Carrollton AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using 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. If not, ask a local Carrollton AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Carrollton AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the usual 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 just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade 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 attend classes at night or on weekends near Carrollton AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Carrollton AL?
Perhaps you live in the Carrollton 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 Pickens County Courthouse in the center of Carrollton was erected in 1877. The first courthouse in Carrollton was burned on April 5, 1865 by troops of Union General John T. Croxton. A second courthouse was destroyed by a fire on November 16, 1876.
Incorporated in 1831, the town was named after Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Maryland, the only Roman Catholic and longest-living signer of the Declaration of Independence. A post office has been in operation at Carrollton since 1831.
As was typical, the county jail was located at the courthouse. The courthouse square was used frequently as a site for public lynchings by whites of African Americans, part of numerous efforts to suppress them during a time of high tensions as whites struggled for dominance. It was part of a program of intimidation and racial terrorism, with these murders frequent in the decades on either side of the turn of the 20th century. Among the numerous African Americans lynched in Carrollton was John Gibson, hanged on August 28, 1907. Pickens County had the fifth highest total of lynchings in Alabama, according to Lynching in America (2015, 3rd edition), published by the Equal Justice Initiative.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Carrollton AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical Program Carrollton AL
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Carrollton AL.