How to Pick a Welding Training Program near Wetumpka Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Wetumpka AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 Training
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Wetumpka AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take 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 specialized skills for working 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 requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Wetumpka AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just 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 according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Vocational School
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Wetumpka AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Wetumpka AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 Wetumpka AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Wetumpka AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Wetumpka AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Wetumpka AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few 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 opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Wetumpka AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Wetumpka AL?
Perhaps you live in the Wetumpka 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.
Wetumpka is a city in and the county seat of Elmore County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,528. In the early 21st century, Elmore County, long a rural area, became one of the fastest-growing counties in the state. The city is considered part of the Montgomery Metropolitan Area.
Wetumpka identifies as "The City of Natural Beauty". Among the notable landmarks are the Wetumpka crater and the Jasmine Hill Gardens, with a full-sized replica of the Temple of Hera of Olympia, Greece. Historic downtown Wetumpka developed on both sides of the Coosa River. It was near Fort Toulouse, built by French colonists in 1717, when they had claimed this territory for the king.
The word Wetumpka is derived from the Muscogee language (Creek) phrase we-wau tum-cau. The name Wetumpka is a historic Creek place word meaning "rumbling waters", believed to be a description of the sound of the nearby Coosa River at the rapids of the Devil's Staircase. The roar of the rapids reportedly could be heard for miles before the construction in the 20th century of Walter Bouldin Dam and Jordan Dam, when the river was captured as a reservoir behind the dam.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Wetumpka AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited 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 make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade Program Wetumpka AL
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Wetumpka AL.