How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Class near Centre Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Centre AL is an essential first step to launching 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder trade 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 wise to develop 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.
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 receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Centre AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 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 additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Centre AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Centre AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many 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 should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Centre 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 also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Centre AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 Centre AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, 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. Otherwise, ask a local Centre AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Centre AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs 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 Centre AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Centre AL?
Perhaps you live in the Centre 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.
Centre is a city in Cherokee County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 3,489. The city is the county seat of Cherokee County and is part of the Gadsden, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Cherokee County was created on January 9, 1836, and named for the Cherokee people who once lived in the area. The famous Cherokee chief Pathkiller lived in Turkeytown near the present town of Centre. In 1836 the newly founded town of Cedar Bluff became the county seat, but in 1844 the county seat was moved to the more centrally located town of Centre. The name was chosen, and carries the British English spelling, because of this central location in the county. In 2011, Centre began allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages, and is no longer a dry city.
Centre is located slightly west of the center of Cherokee County at 34°9'33.052" North, 85°40'29.071" West (34.159181, -85.674742). The city limits extend north to the south shore of Weiss Lake on the Coosa River.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Centre AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Best Welding Trade School Centre AL
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Centre AL.