How to Choose a Welder Technical School near Heflin Alabama
Choosing the right welder school near Heflin AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welder technical 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 chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Heflin AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require 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 additional skills for experienced 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 extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Heflin AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Heflin AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Heflin AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Heflin AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Heflin AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, 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 similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Heflin AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Heflin 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 the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Heflin AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Heflin AL?
Perhaps you live in the Heflin 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.
Heflin is a city in Cleburne County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 3,480. The city is the county seat of Cleburne County. It is located approximately halfway between Birmingham and Atlanta on Interstate 20.
Heflin was first settled in 1882 as a station on the railroad line from Atlanta. The town quickly grew and was incorporated in 1886. Until 1905, the County Seat of Cleburne County had been located at Edwardsville. In 1905, an election was held to move the county seat from Edwardsville to Heflin. The election results favored Heflin and were appealed to and upheld by the Alabama Supreme Court on July 1, 1906.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,480 people, 1,384 households, and 925 families residing in the city. The population density was 216.9 people per square mile (83.7/km²). There were 1,531 housing units at an average density of 93.9 per square mile (36.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.3% White, 9.4% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 1.0% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 2.4% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Heflin AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Technical Program Heflin AL
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Heflin AL.