How to Choose a Welder Certification Program near Fairfield Alabama
Locating the ideal welding school near Fairfield 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 fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Fairfield AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Fairfield AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available 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
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates 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 extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Tech School
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Fairfield AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Fairfield AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Fairfield AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Fairfield AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm 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 not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Fairfield AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Fairfield AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairfield AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Fairfield AL?
Perhaps you live in the Fairfield 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.
Fairfield is a city in western Jefferson County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham metropolitan area and is located southeast of Pleasant Grove. The population was 11,117 at the 2010 census.
This city was founded in 1910 in which the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony was former President Theodore Roosevelt. It was originally named Corey, after an executive of U.S. Steel Corporation. The name was later changed to the city in which the President of U.S. Steel lived, Fairfield, Connecticut. It was planned as a model city by the Tennessee Coal, Iron and Railroad Company to house workers in their new Fairfield Works plant, now owned by U.S. Steel, similar to its northeastern city of Ensley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 12,381 people, 4,600 households, and 3,141 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,503.8 people per square mile (1,354.2/km²). There were 4,960 housing units at an average density of 1,403.7 per square mile (542.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 8.90% White, 90.23% Black or African American, 0.06% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.48% from two or more races. 0.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Fairfield AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Technical Program Fairfield AL
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Fairfield AL.