How to Choose a Welding Trade School near Cowarts Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder school near Cowarts AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Cowarts 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 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 provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Cowarts AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove 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 welding trade school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Cowarts AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Cowarts AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Cowarts AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Cowarts AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Cowarts AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Cowarts AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers 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 present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cowarts AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Cowarts AL?
Perhaps you live in the Cowarts 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.
Cowarts is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. The town incorporated in August 1961. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 1,871, up from 1,546 in 2000.
Cowarts is located in north-central Houston County at 31°11′58″N 85°18′23″W / 31.19944°N 85.30639°W / 31.19944; -85.30639 (31.199575, -85.306272). It is bordered to the north and west by the city of Dothan and to the southeast by the town of Avon. A small part of the northern border of Cowarts is with the town of Webb.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,546 people, 603 households, and 469 families residing in the town. The population density was 213.6 people per square mile (82.4/km2). There were 684 housing units at an average density of 94.5 per square mile (36.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 84.93% White, 12.35% Black or African American, 0.65% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.39% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Cowarts AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate 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 setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Cowarts AL
Picking the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Cowarts AL.