How to Select a Welder Technical School near Cleveland Alabama
Choosing the right welding technical school near Cleveland AL is an essential 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welder trade 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 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 talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Cleveland AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Cleveland AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. 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
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Cleveland AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Cleveland 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.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Cleveland AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Cleveland AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Cleveland AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Cleveland AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed 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 go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cleveland AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Cleveland AL?
Perhaps you live in the Cleveland 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.
Al Cleveland (born Alfred W. Cleveland, March 11, 1930 – August 14, 1996) was an American songwriter for the Motown label. Among his most popular co-compositions are 1967's "I Second That Emotion" and 1969's "Baby, Baby Don't Cry" performed by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and 1971's "What's Going On" performed by Marvin Gaye.
Cleveland was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, to Alfred W. and Dorothy Cleveland. Al has two sisters, Edna Grate and Mamie Jett, as well as one brother, Robert Cleveland. His sons Alfred D Cleveland and Theodore Mills survive him. He had a long and distinguished writing career, initially for New York artists on the Scepter/Wand labels such as Dionne Warwick(e) and Tommy Hunt, as well as Gene Pitney before moving to Motown, where he provided songs for Smokey & The Miracles, the Marvelettes, David Ruffin, the Four Tops and Chuck Jackson before hitting the big time with a co-authorship of Marvin Gaye's "What's Goin' On?" and "Save the Children."
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Cleveland AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Tech School Cleveland AL
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Cleveland AL.