How to Find the Right Welder Degree Program near Hodges Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding vocational school near Hodges AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Hodges AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Hodges AL employers not only demand 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 offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just 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 specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Tech Program
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Hodges AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Hodges AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Hodges AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Hodges AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Hodges AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Hodges AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hodges AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. 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, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Hodges AL?
Perhaps you live in the Hodges 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.
Albert E. Hodge (April 18, 1912 – March 19, 1979) was an American actor best known for playing space adventurer Captain Video on the DuMont Television Network from December 15, 1950, to April 1, 1955. He played the Green Hornet on radio from January 1936 until January 1943.
Hodge was born in Ravenna, Ohio. His parents operated a tailoring and dry-cleaning business. Hodge acted and took part in sports at Ravenna High School. Nicknamed "Abie", he was a track star, a drum major and manager of the band, sang bass in the boys glee club and was a cheerleader.
Hodge graduated from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, in 1934, majoring in drama. After touring as an actor with the Casford Players, he was hired by WXYZ in Detroit, Michigan. Besides originating the role of Britt Reid, the Green Hornet, Hodge wrote and delivered daily editorials, announced at football games, wrote advertising copy, worked as a disc jockey, and produced radio dramas and documentaries, including The Lone Ranger and Challenge of the Yukon. He served in the United States Navy during World War II, and was bedridden for a year with pleurisy.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Hodges AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished 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 want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade School Hodges AL
Selecting the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Hodges AL.