How to Pick a Welding Certification Course near Centreville Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Centreville AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Training Programs
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Centreville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Centreville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Vocational Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Centreville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Centreville AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Centreville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high 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 Centreville AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 Centreville AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Centreville AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely 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 instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Centreville AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Centreville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Centreville 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.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Centreville has a total area of 9.6 square miles (24.9 km2), of which 9.5 square miles (24.5 km2) are land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.52%, is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Centreville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
Centreville is the site of the highest recorded temperature in the state of Alabama. On September 6, 1925, the temperature in Centreville reached the state record of 112 ºF. The data below are for the years 1916 to 1974.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Centreville AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their education and training. However, the most important 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 performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Technical Program Centreville AL
Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Centreville AL.