How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Montevallo Alabama
Locating the right welding technical school near Montevallo AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Montevallo AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach 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 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Montevallo AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things 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
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Montevallo AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types 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, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Montevallo AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Montevallo AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Montevallo AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Montevallo AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Montevallo AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montevallo AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Montevallo AL?
Perhaps you live in the Montevallo 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.
Montevallo is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. A college town, it is the home of the University of Montevallo, a public liberal arts university with approximately 3,000 students. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city of Montevallo is 6,323. Dr. Hollie Campbell Cost, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Montevallo, serves as Mayor.
Montevallo is located at 33°6′18″N 86°51′46″W / 33.10500°N 86.86278°W / 33.10500; -86.86278 (33.1049, -86.8628). A plaque on Reynolds Cemetery Road, just off Alabama State Route 25, in the eastern corner of the town, marks the geographic center of the state of Alabama. Middle Street, formerly known as Main Street, had its name changed in 1899 for this reason, upon the completion of a new state survey.
The area where Montevallo is now was once controlled by the Creek Indians. After being acquired in 1814 Jesse Wilson claimed a small hill on the northern bank of the Shoal Creek and created a homestead there, making it the oldest settlement in Shelby County. Wilson's friends and family followed afterwards and also settled in the area, and a settlement known as Wilson's Hill developed on the site. The settlement's location at almost the exact center of Alabama meant it was considered one of the potential sites for the University of Alabama. In an attempt to encourage the university to choose the site the settlement changed its name to Montevallo, which is Italian for the hill in the valley.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Montevallo AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use 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 possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Tech School Montevallo AL
Selecting the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Montevallo AL.