How to Find the Right Welder Training Class near Thomasville Alabama
Locating the right welding technical school near Thomasville AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Thomasville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities 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 proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Thomasville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Thomasville AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. 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 instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Thomasville AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask 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 other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Thomasville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Thomasville AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure 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 Thomasville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Thomasville AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Thomasville AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Thomasville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Thomasville 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.
Thomasville is a city in Clarke County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 4,209. Founded as a late 19th-century railroad town, it has transitioned over the course of more than a century into a 21st-century commercial hub. It is the childhood hometown of author and storyteller Kathryn Tucker Windham.
Thomasville was founded in 1888 and incorporated on November 24 of that year. The former community of Choctaw Corner, dating back to the antebellum period, was a settlement west of what would become Thomasville, but when the merchants there learned that a railroad was going to bypass their town to the east, they decided to move their stores to be near the railroad. The former community is now inside the city limits. The tracks between Mobile and Selma were completed the same year that Thomasville began. First referred to as "Choctaw", the town was named after railroad financier and former Union Civil War general, Samuel Thomas, after he donated $500 for the construction of Thomasville's first school. The town had expanded by the end of the 19th century with numerous stores, several hotels and boarding houses, and a depot station. In 1899, what is now downtown was destroyed by a fire that burned several blocks of the wood frame buildings. Thomasville quickly rebuilt, this time in brick, and was once again flourishing by the start of World War I.
Over the next century, Thomasville continued to grow and expand. Over the years, many businesses came and others left. These included garment factories, sawmills, and cotton gins. The railroad discontinued its use of the town's depot by the 1950s, but that time also saw the opening of Thomasville's FPS-35 radar base, part of the Air Defense Command's Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) system, bringing in servicemen and their families. The prototype for the FPS-35 radar was developed at the Thomasville Aircraft Control and Warning Station. The 1950s also saw the planting of roses along Highway 43, the main highway through Thomasville, earning it the nickname of The City of Roses. The 1960s and 1970s saw the opening of numerous paper mills in the area, an industry that continues to be important to the economy of Thomasville today. This time also saw businesses begin to relocate from downtown to the main highway. The Thomasville Historic District was designated in 1999 by the National Register of Historic Places.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Thomasville AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. 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 accomplished 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 earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical Program Thomasville AL
Choosing the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Thomasville AL.