How to Select a Welder Certification Class near Grove Hill Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Grove Hill AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Grove Hill AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Grove Hill AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available 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
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Vocational School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Grove Hill AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Grove Hill AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Grove Hill AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Grove Hill AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm 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 in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Grove Hill AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Grove Hill AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Grove Hill AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Grove Hill AL?
Perhaps you live in the Grove Hill 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.
Grove Hill, Alabama
The area that is now Grove Hill was originally inhabited by Creek and Choctaw Indians. The county seat of Clarke County was established at what later became Grove Hill in 1832 as the spot was most central to the rest of the county. Known variously as Smithville, then Macon, the name Grove Hill was selected around 1850 for the large grove of oak trees on the plateau. The town was officially incorporated and chartered in 1929. In 1853, a yellow fever epidemic struck the town, killing many residents, almost wiping out the town.
The Grove Hill area has numerous sites on the National Register of Historic Places including the Alston-Cobb House, Bush House, John A. Coate House, Cobb House, Dickinson House, Fort Sinquefield, and the Grove Hill Courthouse Square Historic District.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,570 people, 615 households, and 402 families residing in the town. The racial makeup of the town was 56.6% White, 41.3% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% from other races, and 1.0% from two or more races. 2.0% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Grove Hill AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Trade Program Grove Hill AL
Choosing the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Grove Hill AL.