How to Find the Right Welder Certification Program near Rainbow City Alabama
Choosing the right welding technical school near Rainbow City AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Rainbow City AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Rainbow City 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). Different 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
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Rainbow City AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Rainbow City AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some 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 placement program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Rainbow City AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Rainbow City AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 Rainbow City AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Rainbow City AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Rainbow City AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Rainbow City AL?
Perhaps you live in the Rainbow City 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.
Rainbow City, Alabama
This city was named after U.S. Highway 411, called Rainbow Drive, which runs through the middle of the city. Some of the older citizens say it was named after the US 42nd Infantry Division, known as the "Rainbow Division".
As early as 1818, families from the Carolinas and Georgia began to migrate to the area and homestead land near the Coosa River. Hernando de Soto's troops were the first visitors to the area in 1540, and today a bridge stands where the Pensacola Trading Path crossed the Coosa River. A paved highway now traces the trail that was cut from Nashville to Horseshoe Bend by Andrew Jackson on his way to fight the Creek Native Americans in what is now known as the Battle of Horseshoe Bend.
Originally called "Coosa Bend", the area was later called "Morgan's Cross Road". It was located at the intersection of the Gadsden-Ashville Road and Gilbert's Ferry Road. The land was passed from Edmond Jones to his son Clayton, who never married. When he died, the land passed to his sister, Luvica Morgan, who was also the wife of William Morgan.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Rainbow City AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most important 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 have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Technical School Rainbow City AL
Picking the right welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Rainbow City AL.