How to Pick a Welder Training Class near Blountsville Alabama
Enrolling in the right welder technical school near Blountsville AL is an important first step to launching your new career 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Blountsville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. 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 experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Blountsville AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things 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 kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds 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, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Trade Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Blountsville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Blountsville AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 Blountsville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Blountsville AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify 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 using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Blountsville AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Blountsville AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might 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 an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession 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 at night or on weekends near Blountsville AL, confirm 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 should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Blountsville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Blountsville 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.
Blount County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature on February 6, 1818, from land ceded to the federal government by the Creek Nation on August 9, 1814. It was named for Gov. Willie G. Blount of Tennessee, who provided assistance to settlers in Alabama during the Creek War of 1813-14. It lies in the northeastern section of the state, generally known as the mineral region.
What became Blountsville appears on an 1819 map as the mixed Creek/Cherokee Native American village of "Wassausey" (meaning Bear Meat Cabin, the name of an Indian translator who lived there). The town was established by Caleb Fryley and Johnny Jones in 1816 as Bear Meat Cabin. The post office was opened as Blountsville on October 20, 1825, and incorporated on December 13, 1827. It was the county seat until 1889 when the government was moved to Oneonta.
There were many schools in the town in the early years: The Academy, Blount College and the District Agricultural School, plus the public schools. The Blount County Courthouse and jail was built in 1833 and remained there until it was moved to Oneonta. A major crossroads in early Alabama, Blountsville became a Confederate depot for the cavalry. Confederate forces led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union forces led by General Abel Streight skirmished briefly in the town on May 1, 1863, and Major General Lovell H. Rousseau and his Union cavalry occupied the town in July 1864. Blount College was in the building that was originally the courthouse. It was established in 1890. The beautiful Blountsville United Methodist Church was established in 1818 and is the oldest building in Blountsville and is still in use today. Another old building in Blountsville was once known as the Barclift House. Built in 1834 as Hendricks Tavern, it is now owned and is being restored by the Ortiz family.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Blountsville AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin 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. Clearly 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School Blountsville AL
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Blountsville AL.