How to Find the Right Welder Certification Course near Headland Alabama
Choosing the right welder vocational school near Headland AL is an important first step to launching 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 significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welder trade 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several options 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Headland AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created 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 finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Headland AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Technical School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Headland AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, 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 profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose 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 obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Headland 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 Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Headland AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Headland AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect 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 similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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 Headland AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Headland AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Headland AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Headland AL?
Perhaps you live in the Headland 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.
Headland is the largest city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama metropolitan area. At the 2010 census the population was 4,510, up from 3,523 at the 2000 census. Ray Marler is the current mayor.
The Headland Public Square was laid off in 1871 by J.J. Head with a vision for a branch courthouse. Henry County voters decided in the 1879 and 1885 courthouse site elections not to locate a courthouse on the public square. Henry has been Alabama's only county with three courthouses at the same time.
Headland incorporated in 1884 with 26 white and 4 black petitioners. The railroad was built in 1893 along with the Seaboard Coast Line Railroad Depot. The depot was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1980. It has since been disassembled.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Headland AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most important 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 need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational School Headland AL
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Headland AL.