How to Enroll In a Welding Degree Program near Glenwood Alabama
Locating the right welding trade school near Glenwood AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welder vocational 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 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Glenwood AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Glenwood AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. 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 certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some 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 local area and confirm that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Tech School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Glenwood AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds 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, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Glenwood 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 as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Glenwood AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Glenwood AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Glenwood 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 few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Glenwood AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation 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. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Glenwood AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Glenwood AL?
Perhaps you live in the Glenwood 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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 191 people, 92 households, and 58 families residing in the town. The population density was 262.8 people per square mile (101.0/km²). There were 118 housing units at an average density of 162.3 per square mile (62.4/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 69.11% White, 29.84% Black or African American, and 1.05% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 92 households out of which 25.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.8% were married couples living together, 12.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.08 and the average family size was 2.59.
In the town, the population was spread out with 18.3% under the age of 18, 5.2% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 27.7% from 45 to 64, and 18.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.3 males.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Glenwood AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important 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 done 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 desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Ideal Welding Tech School Glenwood AL
Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on 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 Glenwood AL.