How to Pick a Welder Training Class near Mobile Alabama
Enrolling in the right welder technical school near Mobile AL is an essential first step to starting your new career 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 choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Mobile AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Mobile AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Mobile AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Mobile AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older 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 Mobile AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Mobile AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three 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 taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Mobile AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Mobile AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mobile AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Mobile AL?
Perhaps you live in the Mobile 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.
Mobile (/moʊˈbiːl/ moh-BEEL; French pronunciation: [mɔ.bil]) is the county seat of Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The population within the city limits was 195,111 as of the 2010 United States Census, making it the third most populous city in Alabama, the most populous in Mobile County, and the largest municipality on the Gulf Coast between New Orleans, Louisiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida.
Alabama's only saltwater port, Mobile is located on the Mobile River at the head of the Mobile Bay and the north-central Gulf Coast. The Port of Mobile has always played a key role in the economic health of the city, beginning with the settlement as an important trading center between the French colonists and Native Americans, down to its current role as the 12th-largest port in the United States.
Mobile is the principal municipality of the Mobile metropolitan area. This region of 412,992 residents is composed solely of Mobile County; it is the third-largest metropolitan statistical area in the state. Mobile is the largest city in the Mobile-Daphne−Fairhope CSA, with a total population of 604,726, the second largest in the state. As of 2011[update], the population within a 60-mile (100 km) radius of Mobile is 1,262,907.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Mobile AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Vocational School Mobile AL
Picking the right welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Mobile AL.