How to Pick a Welding Certification Class near Marion Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Marion AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start 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 tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Marion AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. 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 supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often 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.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Marion AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Technical Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Marion AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously 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 should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Marion AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Marion AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Marion AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Marion AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Marion AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marion AL, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Marion AL?
Perhaps you live in the Marion 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.
Marion is a city in, and the county seat of, Perry County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,686, up 4.8% over 2000. First known as Muckle Ridge, the city was renamed after a hero of the American Revolution, Francis Marion.
Formerly the territory of the Creek Indians, it was founded shortly after 1819 as Muckle Ridge. The city was renamed in honor of Francis Marion, the "Swamp Fox," hero of the American Revolutionary War, in 1822. It incorporated as a town the same year and also became the second county seat after the hamlet of Perry Ridge was unsuitable. In 1829, it upgraded from a town to a city. From the very early days, Marion created considerable history for a small town on the western frontier of Alabama. The old City Hall (1832) is but one of many antebellum public buildings, churches, and homes in the city today.
At the 1844 meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention in Marion, the "Alabama Resolutions" were passed. This was one of the factors that led to the 1845 formation of the Southern Baptist Convention in Augusta, Georgia.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Marion AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Trade School Marion AL
Selecting the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Marion AL.