How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near Pike Road Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Pike Road AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to receive 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 common welding programs available in the Pike Road AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Pike Road AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Vocational Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Pike Road AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick 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 might need to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify 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 receive a quality education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Pike Road 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 also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask 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 other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 Pike Road 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 important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Pike Road AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Pike Road AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Pike Road AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation 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 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 a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pike Road AL, verify 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 decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out 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 Pike Road AL?
Perhaps you live in the Pike Road 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.
Pike Road, Alabama
Pike Road is a town in Montgomery County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2000 census, the population of the town was 310. The 2010 census indicated a population of 5,406. It is part of the Montgomery metropolitan area.
The current town council members are: Chris Dunn, Angie Bradsher, Betsy Atkins, Leroy Tolliver and Rob Steindorff. The Pike Road Town Council meets at 7:00 p.m. on the second Monday of each month as well as the fourth Wednesday of every month at 7:00 a.m. Meetings are held in the council chamber at Pike Road Town Hall (9575 Vaughn Road).
By the time of the 2010 census, there were 5,406 people residing in Pike Road with the town now having 1,933 households, and 1606 families. The town's population grew almost 20-fold since the 2000 census, making it one of the fastest growing incorporated places in Alabama with a population of over 5,000 in 2010. Population is 8,777 as of 2016.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Pike Road AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade School Pike Road AL
Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Pike Road AL.