How to Choose a Welder Certification Class near Pelham Alabama
Selecting the right welder technical school near Pelham AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns 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 initiating 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 talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Pelham AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Pelham AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Tech School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Pelham AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Pelham AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Pelham AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Pelham AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Pelham AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Pelham AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Pelham AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Pelham AL?
Perhaps you live in the Pelham 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.
Pelham is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in July 1964. At the 2000 census the population was 14,369, but has grown to 21,352 recorded by the 2010 census. It was named for Confederate American Civil War officer John Pelham.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,369 people, 5,637 households, and 4,002 families residing in the city. The population density was 378.2 people per square mile (146.0/km²). There were 5,894 housing units at an average density of 155.1 per square mile (59.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.02% White, 3.97% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 1.68% Asian, 2.82% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. 6.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 5,637 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.05.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Pelham AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Trade Program Pelham AL
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Pelham AL.