How to Select a Welder Trade School near Autaugaville Alabama
Choosing the right welder school near Autaugaville AL is an important 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Autaugaville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach 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 complete and are usually 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Autaugaville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational School
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Autaugaville AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Autaugaville AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Autaugaville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Autaugaville AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Autaugaville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Autaugaville AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Autaugaville AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Autaugaville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Autaugaville 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 2010, there were 870 people, 350 households, and 243 families residing in the town. The population density was 114.2 people per square mile (44.1/km2). There were 412 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 66.8% Black or African American, 31.3% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 350 households of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, 26.0% has a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Autaugaville AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Tech Program Autaugaville AL
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Autaugaville AL.