How to Pick a Welding Certification Course near Jefferson Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Jefferson AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of 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 pick the right one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when reviewing welder vocational 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 prudent to develop 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 multiple options available to receive 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Jefferson AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Jefferson AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Jefferson AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant 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 need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you pick 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 a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Jefferson AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Jefferson AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean 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 high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Jefferson AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. 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 Jefferson AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Jefferson AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Jefferson AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. 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 due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Jefferson AL?
Perhaps you live in the Jefferson 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.
Al Ricardo Jefferson (born January 4, 1985) is an American former professional basketball player. He played high school basketball for Prentiss High School in Mississippi before skipping college to enter the 2004 NBA draft, where he was drafted 15th overall by the Boston Celtics. He has previously played for the Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Charlotte Hornets and Indiana Pacers.
Born in Monticello, Mississippi, Jefferson attended Prentiss High School in the small nearby town of Prentiss from 2000 to 2004. After starting for his varsity team as a freshman at Prentiss, he became one of the elite players in the country as a junior, drawing the attention of both college coaches around the country, and the scouts of the NBA. In his senior year for the Bulldogs, he averaged an astounding 42.6 points, 18 rebounds and seven blocks per game as his Bulldogs team went on to lose in the Mississippi state class 3A semi-finals to Byhalia High School 88-73, in which Jefferson finished with 56 points.
Considered a five-star recruit by Rivals.com, Jefferson was listed as the No. 1 center and the No. 4 player in the nation in 2004. He had originally committed to Arkansas, but opted instead to make the jump to the NBA straight out of high school.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Jefferson AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 would like to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade Program Jefferson AL
Choosing the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Jefferson AL.