How to Select a Welding Training Class near Columbia Alabama
Finding the ideal welding technical school near Columbia AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options available to receive 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Columbia AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Columbia AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Trade School
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Columbia AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most 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 looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Columbia AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist 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 refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Columbia AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Columbia AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Columbia AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Columbia AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree 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 want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average 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 getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Columbia AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure 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 due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Columbia AL?
Perhaps you live in the Columbia 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.
At the age of 18 Columbia was hired to assist Bill Sienkiewicz in illustrating Alan Moore's ambitious Big Numbers series. When Sienkiewicz withdrew from the series in 1990 after the release of the first two issues, Moore and his backers at Tundra Publishing asked the young Columbia to become its sole artist. In 1992, with no more issues released, Columbia himself left the project under a cloud of rumors and accusations, including claims that he had destroyed his own artwork for Big Numbers #4. Columbia declined to address the subject publicly for several years, writing in a 1998 letter to The Comics Journal that "I could easily launch into a tirade about the extensive horror of my Tundra experience, but I much prefer the very entertaining and conflicting accounts already in circulation." In later statements he confirmed that he destroyed his artwork but disputed other claims by the principal figures in the fiasco.
In a 2011 article reflecting on his Big Numbers experience, Sienkiewicz wrote that he and Columbia had long since reconciled over the matter, and that he was content to "[c]halk the feud up to the folly of youth."
Columbia's first solo comic book, Doghead, was released by Tundra Publishing in 1992. It contains three short stories, two in black and white and one in full color. Paul Gravett described it as "three dark, stylish tales, indebted to Sienkiewicz and McKean but with hints of [Columbia's] emerging singular identity".
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Columbia AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most important 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 setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Best Welding Vocational Program Columbia AL
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on 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 final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Columbia AL.