How to Select a Welder Degree Program near Clayton Alabama
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Clayton AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Clayton 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 largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Clayton AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like 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 kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Trade School
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Clayton AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential 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 instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. 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 specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Clayton AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Clayton AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Clayton AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Clayton AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Clayton AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify 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 at night or on weekends near Clayton AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Clayton AL?
Perhaps you live in the Clayton 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.
Charles Allen Clayton III (June 14, 1934 – April 27, 2014) was an American photographer born in Etowah, Tennessee. His 1967 photography series was instrumental in the redesign and expansion of the Food Stamp Program when Senators Edward Kennedy and Joseph Clark used the images in hearings on hunger and malnutrition in the United States. The photographs were later published in the 1969 book Still Hungry in America with text by Robert Coles and a foreword by Kennedy. The book was republished in March 2018 by the University of Georgia Press in partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Clayton AL area that can 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 novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Best Welding Tech Program Clayton AL
Choosing the right welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, 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 also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Clayton AL.