How to Pick a Welding Training Program near Leesburg Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Leesburg AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise 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 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Leesburg AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Leesburg AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Tech School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Leesburg AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard 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, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Leesburg AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Leesburg AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Leesburg AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Leesburg AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Leesburg AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could 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 offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Leesburg AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Leesburg AL?
Perhaps you live in the Leesburg 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.
Leesburg was originally called Hamptonville; it was named for Joseph Hampton and the Henslee family respectively. A post office was established as Hamptonville in 1836, and in 1839 the name was changed to Leesburg.
Leesburg is located in western Cherokee County at 34°10'57.446" North, 85°46'8.350" West (34.182624, -85.768986). It is bordered by Lookout Mountain and the town of Sand Rock to the north and Weiss Lake on the Coosa River to the south. Weiss Dam, forming the lake, is located just south of the town limits.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,027 people, 409 households, and 298 families residing in the town. The population density was 160 people per square mile (61.8/km²). There were 663 housing units at an average density of 103.6 per square mile (39.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 96.5% White, 0.0% Native American, 0.0% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.9% from two or more races. 1.3% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Leesburg AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, 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 performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited 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 cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Right Welding Tech Program Leesburg AL
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary 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 different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Leesburg AL.