How to Find the Right Welder Trade School near Fayette Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Fayette AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Fayette AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Fayette AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Tech School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Fayette AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two 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, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, 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 might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Fayette AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Fayette AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Fayette AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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 Fayette AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Fayette AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fayette AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure 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 due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Fayette AL?
Perhaps you live in the Fayette 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.
Originally known as "La Fayette", it incorporated on January 15, 1821. When Fayette County was created in 1824, the town's name was officially changed to "Fayette Court House", though it was also known as "Fayetteville", which was the name shown on maps and on the U.S. Census in 1880 and 1890. It was officially shortened to "Fayette" in 1898.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,922 people, 2,092 households, and 1,303 families residing in the city. The population density was 575.1 people per square mile (222.0/km²). There were 2,336 housing units at an average density of 273.0 per square mile (105.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.34% White, 23.38% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.28% Asian, 0.30% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. One percent of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 2,092 households out of which 26.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.2% were married couples living together, 14.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.20 and the average family size was 2.85.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Fayette AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide 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 handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Best Welding Vocational School Fayette AL
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important 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 examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. 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. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Fayette AL.