How to Choose a Welder Technical School near Dixons Mills Alabama
Selecting the right welding school near Dixons Mills AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Dixons Mills AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish 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.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Dixons Mills AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Tech Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Dixons Mills AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Dixons Mills 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.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Dixons Mills 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 program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Dixons Mills AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable 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. Otherwise, ask a local Dixons Mills AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Dixons Mills AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dixons Mills AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Dixons Mills AL?
Perhaps you live in the Dixons Mills 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 Mason–Dixon line, also called the Mason and Dixon line or Mason's and Dixon's line, was surveyed between 1763 and 1767 by Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon in the resolution of a border dispute involving Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Delaware in Colonial America. It is still a demarcation line among four U.S. states, forming part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (originally part of Virginia before 1863). Later it became known as the border between the Northern United States and the Southern United States. Before the Missouri Compromise, the line (west of Delaware) marked the northern limit of slavery in the United States.
Maryland's charter of 1632 granted the Calverts land north of the entire length of the Potomac River up to the 40th parallel. A problem arose when Charles II granted a charter for Pennsylvania in 1681. The grant defined Pennsylvania's southern border as identical to Maryland's northern border, but described it differently, as Charles relied on an inaccurate map. The terms of the grant clearly indicate that Charles II and William Penn believed the 40th parallel would intersect the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle, Delaware, when in fact it falls north of the original boundaries of the City of Philadelphia, the site of which Penn had already selected for his colony's capital city. Negotiations ensued after the problem was discovered in 1681. A compromise proposed by Charles II in 1682, which might have resolved the issue, was undermined by Penn receiving the additional grant of the "Three Lower Counties" along Delaware Bay, which later became the Delaware Colony, a satellite of Pennsylvania. Maryland considered these lands part of its original grant.
The conflict became more of an issue when settlement extended into the interior of the colonies. In 1732 the proprietary governor of Maryland, Charles Calvert, 5th Baron Baltimore, signed a provisional agreement with William Penn's sons, which drew a line somewhere in between and renounced the Calvert claim to Delaware. But later, Lord Baltimore claimed that the document he had signed did not contain the terms he had agreed to, and refused to put the agreement into effect. Beginning in the mid-1730s, violence erupted between settlers claiming various loyalties to Maryland and Pennsylvania. The border conflict would be known as Cresap's War.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Dixons Mills AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade School Dixons Mills AL
Choosing the ideal welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Dixons Mills AL.