How to Enroll In a Welder Technical School near Locust Fork Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Locust Fork AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available to receive 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Locust Fork AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Locust Fork AL employers not only demand 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 variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Locust Fork AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must 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 following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Locust Fork AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Locust Fork AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Locust Fork AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities 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 in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Locust Fork AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Locust Fork AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation 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 provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Locust Fork 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 select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Locust Fork AL?
Perhaps you live in the Locust Fork 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.
Locust Fork, Alabama
While traveling south with his troops in 1815, General Andrew Jackson camped along a river in the area. General Jackson carved his name in a locust tree, naming the area Locust Fork. In the early 1800s Nick Hudson built a public inn in what is now Locust Fork. He erected barns to shelter the horses and hogs of the Tennessee farmers who drove them to the deeper South for a more profitable market.
Locust Fork is located southwest of the center of Blount County, at 33°53'47.494" North, 86°37'50.048" West (33.896526, -86.630569). It is situated on a bluff overlooking the Blackburn Fork of the Little Warrior River. Just north of town, the Blackburn Fork enters the Little Warrior River, which flows into the Locust Fork of the Black Warrior River 2 miles (3 km) northwest of the town.
Locust Fork is located in one of the northeast-to-southwest valleys that make up the southern end of the Appalachian mountain chain. Sand Mountain forms the southeast side of the valley, and McAnnally Mountain and Hog Mountain form part of a broader, more broken ridge to the northwest. The area has been mined for coal over the past 100 years, but no current active coal mining operations exist in the immediate area, which consists of rolling hill farm country.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Locust Fork AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly 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 experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Ideal Welding Tech School Locust Fork AL
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect 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 dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Locust Fork AL.