How to Find the Right Welder Certificate Program near Reform Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder trade school near Reform AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when examining welding technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical 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. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Reform AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Reform AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some 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 various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Trade Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Reform AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two 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 make certain that the program you pick 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 ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Reform AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Reform AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Reform AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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 Reform AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Reform AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may 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 an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Reform AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll 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 because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Reform AL?
Perhaps you live in the Reform 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.
Sparsely settled after statehood, Reform first received a post office in 1841. It wasn't incorporated until March 2, 1898, following the community getting train service via the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. According to tradition, the community was named from an incident when an evangelist paid the new settlement a visit, imploring the first settlers to "reform".
In May 1968, a mule train, part of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sponsored Poor People's Campaign, stopped for two days in Reform before heading to Tuscaloosa, Alabama on its way to Washington, DC.
On August 31, 2017, the area was hit by an EF2 tornado. The tornado touched down near Reform and tracked through Pickens, Lamar, and Fayette counties. Significant damage was also caused in the nearby community of Palmetto. http://www.al.com/news/index.ssf/2017/09/national_weather_service_to_su.html
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Reform AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Best Welding Trade Program Reform AL
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best 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 sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Reform AL.