How to Select a Welder Certification Program near Jacksonville Alabama
Locating the ideal welding technical school near Jacksonville AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick 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? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welding trade 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 talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Jacksonville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Jacksonville AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Tech Program
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Jacksonville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 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 need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive 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 sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Jacksonville AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various 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 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 help students find employment and develop associations within the Jacksonville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Jacksonville AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Jacksonville AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Jacksonville AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Jacksonville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Jacksonville 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.
Jacksonville is a city in Calhoun County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 12,548, which is a 49% increase since 2000. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Jacksonville State University is located here, which is a center of commerce and one of the largest employers in the area.
Jacksonville was founded in 1833 on land purchased from Creek Indian Chief "Du-Hoag" Ladiga. First called Drayton, the town was renamed to honor President Andrew Jackson in 1834. There are a couple Civil War monuments in town, including a statue of Major John Pelham in the city cemetery and a statue of a Confederate soldier in the middle of the square. Jacksonville served as the county seat for Calhoun County until the 20th century when it moved to Anniston. Jacksonville State University was founded here in 1883.
An EF3 tornado hit Jacksonville on March 19, 2018, causing extensive damage to the city and Jacksonville State University, almost $42 million in damages. The relatively low amount of casualties, specifically just four injuries, was attributed by some to the fact that the university was on spring break at the time. More than 1,000 volunteers assisted in the immediate tornado relief. Caleb Howard, then a senior at Jacksonville State University, said that "[i]t's been amazing to see the university and the community come together." Classes resumed at the university the following month. Although the university's usual site for graduation, Pete Mathews Coliseum, was damaged in the tornado along with over 20 other buildings, the first spring graduation since the tornado proceeded as scheduled on May 4 outside the football stadium. Dr. John Beeler, the university's president, said "It's a joyous event generally because you're celebrating the accomplishments of all your graduates, but it's an even more joyous event because to me it's a celebration of how far we've come in a short time in recovering from these tornadoes."
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Jacksonville AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly 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 better suited 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 careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade Program Jacksonville AL
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Jacksonville AL.