How to Pick a Welder Certification Program near Geneva Alabama
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Geneva AL is an important first step to beginning 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Classes
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Geneva AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Geneva AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. 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 various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Technical Program
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Geneva AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose 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 need to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you choose 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 specific program the school has, such as 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Geneva AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Geneva AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Geneva AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Geneva AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Geneva AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller 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. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade 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 go to classes at night or on weekends near Geneva AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Geneva AL?
Perhaps you live in the Geneva 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.
Geneva is a city in and the county seat of Geneva County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1875. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. Since 1940, it has been the largest city of Geneva County, and had a population of 4,452 as of the 2010 census.
In late December 1862, the stern-wheel steamship Bloomer was in port on the Choctawhatchee River in Geneva. She was captured by a group of Union troops from the 91st New York Volunteers led by Lieutenant James H. Stewart. The Bloomer was then taken to Pensacola, Florida.
Geneva is located south of the center of Geneva County at 31°2′17″N 85°52′36″W / 31.03806°N 85.87667°W / 31.03806; -85.87667 (31.038181, -85.876677), at the confluence of the Pea River with the Choctawhatchee River. Alabama State Route 52 passes through the city north of downtown, leading northeast 11 miles (18 km) to Hartford and northwest 12 miles (19 km) to Samson. Dothan is 34 miles (55 km) to the northeast via Route 52. Alabama State Route 27 passes through the center of Geneva, leading north 22 miles (35 km) to Enterprise and southwest 5 miles (8 km) to the Florida border.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Geneva AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless 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 experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade Program Geneva AL
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal 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 should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor 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, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Geneva AL.