How to Choose a Welding Training Class near Boaz Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Boaz AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by checking out 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 welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Boaz AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, 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 2 years to finish and are usually 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 municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Boaz AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Boaz AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important 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 should be looked at. After all, the school you select 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 may need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Boaz AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, 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 certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Boaz AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Boaz AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Boaz AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Boaz AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Boaz AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Boaz AL?
Perhaps you live in the Boaz 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.
Boaz is a city in Marshall and Etowah counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. It is part of the Albertville, Alabama Micropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 9,551. Boaz was known for its outlet shops.
First settled in the 1850s, the town of Boaz was officially founded November 11, 1878 by the Sparks Family of Georgia. A post office has been in operation since 1887. The city was named after Boaz, from the Bible. It was incorporated in 1897.
The Julia Street Memorial United Methodist Church, Snead Junior College Historic District, the Thomas A. Snellgrove Homestead, and the Edward Fenns Whitman House are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage lists the Boaz Elementary School, the First Baptist Church and Cemetery, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Boaz AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, 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 accomplished 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 knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Right Welding Tech School Boaz AL
Choosing the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final 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 sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Boaz AL.