How to Choose a Welding Training Program near Excel Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding vocational school near Excel AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest 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 necessary issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to obtain 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Excel AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be 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 furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Excel AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Trade Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Excel AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Excel AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Excel AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Excel AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Excel AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Excel AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Excel AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Excel AL?
Perhaps you live in the Excel 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.
Excel is the birthplace of former University of Alabama and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. Excel High School (3A) provides education for children in and around the town of Excel. Businesses within the town include Dollar General, post office, a "do-it-yourself" car wash, a laundromat, hardware store, a locally-run diner and one bank.
As of the census of 2010, there were 723 people, 270 households, and 205 families residing in the town. The population density was 425.3 people per square mile (168.1/km2). There were 295 housing units at an average density of 173.5 per square mile (68.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 0.1% some other race, and 2.4% from two or more races. 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 270 households out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were headed by married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68, and the average family size was 3.11.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Excel AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most significant 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 accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across 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 environment.
Find the Best Welding Trade School Excel AL
Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Excel AL.
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