How to Choose a Welder Degree Program near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Selecting the right welder trade school near Pleasant Grove AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 talk 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 obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Pleasant Grove AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Pleasant Grove AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Trade Program
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Pleasant Grove AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide 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 selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Pleasant Grove AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Pleasant Grove AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Pleasant Grove AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate 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 similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Pleasant Grove AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Pleasant Grove AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pleasant Grove AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Pleasant Grove AL?
Perhaps you live in the Pleasant Grove 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.
Pleasant Grove, Alabama
It was established in 1889, but incorporated as a city in January 1937. The incorporation came about by reason of a rather unusual circumstance. The town sits on land honeycombed by coal mines. For many years the residents had relied on water wells for their water supply. As years passed and more mining was done, Pleasant Grove found itself confronted with a problem. Residents would sometimes go to their well to draw water only to find there was none. The water had gone into the mines.
During the mid to late 30s, the Federal Government had a program for financing the building of local water systems. In exploring the possibility of securing such funds, it was revealed that in order to secure such financing a community must be legally incorporated. At this time the incorporation became a reality.
The first appointed Mayor of Pleasant Grove was W.P. Stone. The city is governed by a mayor and five council members who serve four-year terms. Elections for city officials is held during the summer of each leap year with four-year terms beginning the first Monday in October. The area known as Pleasant Grove, Alabama was first homesteaded in September 1836. Pleasant Grove is in Jefferson County. Although no one seems to know when or exactly how the town came by its name, old documents indicate that at least part of this area was called Pleasant Grove as early as 1884. Pleasant Grove was made up of four communities which included Frog Pond, Lizard Ridge, Cottage Hill, and Pleasant Grove.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Pleasant Grove AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide 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 use 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Trade Program Pleasant Grove AL
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Pleasant Grove AL.