How to Find the Right Welding Certification Program near Union Springs Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Union Springs AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Union Springs AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Union Springs AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Union Springs AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most 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 must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose 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 make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Union Springs AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Union Springs AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Union Springs AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm 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 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 Union Springs AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Union Springs AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Union Springs AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Union Springs AL?
Perhaps you live in the Union Springs 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.
Union Springs, Alabama
The area that became Union Springs was first settled by white men after the Creek Indian removal of the 1830s. Twenty-seven springs watered the land, giving rise to the name of Union Springs. The city was incorporated on January 13, 1844. When Bullock County was formed in 1866, voters selected Union Springs as the county seat.
Union Springs is located in southeastern Alabama near the center of Bullock County at 32°8'24.407" North, 85°42'46.094" West (32.140113, -85.712804). The source of the Conecuh River is within the city limits.
The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and U.S. Route 29. Route 82 leads east 40 miles (64 km) to Eufaula and northwest 46 miles (74 km) to Montgomery, the state capital. Route 29 leads north 23 miles (37 km) to Tuskegee and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Troy.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Union Springs AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical Program Union Springs AL
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing 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 with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Union Springs AL.