How to Select a Welding Training Class near Enterprise Alabama
Selecting the right welding technical school near Enterprise AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding 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 a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Enterprise AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Enterprise AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Tech School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Enterprise AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must 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 might want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select 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 ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Enterprise AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help 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 larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Enterprise AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Enterprise AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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 Enterprise AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Enterprise AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Enterprise AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Enterprise AL?
Perhaps you live in the Enterprise 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.
Enterprise is a city in the southeastern part of Coffee County and the southwestern part of Dale County in the southeastern part of Alabama in the Southern United States. The population was 26,562 at the 2010 census. Enterprise is the primary city of the Enterprise Micropolitan Statistical Area (with the portion of the city located in Dale County part of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area), and is also part of the Dothan-Enterprise-Ozark Combined Statistical Area.
Enterprise is famous for the Boll Weevil Monument, a large monument of a woman holding a boll weevil, which is located in the middle of Main Street. The city erected the statue because the destruction of the cotton crop by the boll weevil had led to agricultural diversity, starting with peanuts and more prosperity than had ever come from cotton alone. It is said to be the only statue to an insect pest in the world. Enterprise is right outside Fort Rucker, an Army base which is the home of Army Aviation.
The founder of Enterprise, John Henry Carmichael, first settled there in 1881. Carmichael opened a store, which attracted more settlers to the area, and by the next year a post office was relocated from the settlement of Drake Eye to the north to Enterprise. In 1896, with 250 people having settled there, the city of Enterprise incorporated. Soon afterward, the Alabama Midland Railway came to Enterprise, bringing with it opportunities for commerce and growth. By 1906, ten years after the city incorporated, its population had grown to 3,750.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Enterprise AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. 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 accomplished 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 desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain 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 environment.
Choose the Right Welding Tech School Enterprise AL
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Enterprise AL.