How to Pick a Welding Certificate Program near Paint Rock Alabama
Locating the right welding school near Paint Rock AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Paint Rock AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Paint Rock AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different kinds 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 Choose a Welding Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Paint Rock AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, 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 help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Paint Rock AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place 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 assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Paint Rock AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Paint Rock AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Paint Rock AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Paint Rock AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Paint Rock AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Paint Rock AL?
Perhaps you live in the Paint Rock 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.
Paint Rock, Alabama
As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 210, up from 185 in 2000. This was the first time in 100 years it increased in population. Out of 13 incorporated communities in Jackson County, it is the least populated. Its peak population was in 1910 when it had 534 people and was the 4th largest town in the county.
Paint Rock was settled in the 1820s, and was initially known as "Camden." A post office was established in 1836, and a railroad depot was constructed in 1856. The name was changed from Camden to "Paint Rock" in 1876.
Paint Rock is located at 34°39′37″N 86°19′41″W / 34.66028°N 86.32806°W / 34.66028; -86.32806 (34.660172, -86.328018). The town is situated along the Paint Rock River in a relatively narrow valley between Keel Mountain to the west and the Cumberland Plateau to the east. Gurley lies to the northwest, Woodville lies to the southeast, and Owens Cross Roads lies across Keel Mountain to the southwest. The Fern Cave National Wildlife Refuge is located along the base of the Cumberland Plateau just east of Paint Rock. U.S. Route 72 passes through Paint Rock, connecting the town with Scottsboro to the east and Huntsville to the west.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Paint Rock AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis 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. Obviously that can’t be done 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 desire to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Technical Program Paint Rock AL
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Paint Rock AL.