How to Choose a Welder Training Program near Alton Alabama
Choosing the right welder school near Alton AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welding vocational 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 prudent 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to obtain 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Alton AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Alton AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding technical school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Technical Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Alton AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, 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 instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Alton AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Alton AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy 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 high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Alton AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Alton AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Alton AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working 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 Alton AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Alton AL?
Perhaps you live in the Alton 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.
Alton "Big Al" Carson
Alton "Big Al" Carson (born October 2, 1953) is an American blues and jazz singer from New Orleans. He has performed with his band, the Blues Masters, in New Orleans, and has performed with other bands.
He formerly played tuba  in addition to singing. Carson performed and recorded with multiple jazz and brass bands in New Orleans, including under the leadership of Doc Paulin , Lars Edegran , and Dr. Michael White.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Alton AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree 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. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Technical Program Alton AL
Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Alton AL.