How to Find the Right Welding Certificate Program near Montgomery Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding school near Montgomery AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Montgomery AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Montgomery AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Montgomery AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Montgomery AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist 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 place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Montgomery AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Montgomery AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Montgomery AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Montgomery AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers 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 an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Montgomery AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm 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, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Montgomery AL?
Perhaps you live in the Montgomery 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.
Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.
The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Montgomery AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Tech Program Montgomery AL
Picking the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Montgomery AL.