How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Course near Saraland Alabama
Finding the ideal welding school near Saraland AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welder technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Saraland AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Saraland AL employers not only demand 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 offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Technical School
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Saraland AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select 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 want to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select 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 make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Saraland AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Saraland AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Saraland AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Saraland AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Saraland AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Saraland AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Saraland AL?
Perhaps you live in the Saraland 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.
Saraland is a city in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, and a suburb of Mobile. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 13,405. It is a part of the Mobile metropolitan area. Saraland is the third largest city in Mobile County.
The land area that was to become the present-day Saraland, was included in a Spanish land grant to Don Diego Alvarez. Hence, descendants of Alvarez were the ones to give the community its first name: Alvarez Station. Later land squatters moved into the area and were able, legally, in 1800 to begin purchasing property. In 1807, a land office was opened in St. Stephens to handle all land transactions. Some of the pioneer families who seized the opportunity to buy up sections were named Alvarez, Rice, Hartley, Moore, LaCoste, Williams, Tool and Cleveland. Ultimately, Alvarez Station was called Cleveland Station. The present name of the city is reported to have been given by C.J. DeWitt, a retired minister editor who moved south in 1890 for health reasons. He opened the first post office on the Southern Railroad in 1895. The community is purported to be the namesake of his beloved wife, Sara.
Saraland was sparsely populated during the first part of the 20th century, until an industrial and population boom occurred in neighboring Mobile. Northward expansion of Mobile in the 1940s and 50s brought about the incorporation of Saraland in 1957. At the time of incorporation, the city reported only 125 residents. By the 1960 U.S. Census, annexations had swelled the population to 4,595. In 1980, census figures cited 9,844 Saraland residents. Current census records report that as of 2017, Saraland's population is estimated to have grown to 14,576.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Saraland AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade Program Saraland AL
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Saraland AL.