How to Choose a Welder Training Course near Cottonton Alabama
Enrolling in the right welder school near Cottonton AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation 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 fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 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 alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Cottonton AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Cottonton AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Cottonton AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade 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 an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Cottonton AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Cottonton AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Cottonton AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Cottonton AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Cottonton AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should 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 obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Cottonton AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Cottonton AL?
Perhaps you live in the Cottonton 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.
Alphonse Herman Mahrt (October 12, 1893 – June 24, 1970) was a professional football player and coach who played his entire career with the Dayton Triangles of the "Ohio League" and later the National Football League (NFL). He was an early proponent of the forward pass after the revolutionary play was added to an extensive list of regulations to college football in 1906. By 1911 when most of the pass restrictions were lifted, Mahrt debuted as regular back on St. Mary’s Institute’s (now the University of Dayton) varsity football team. Mahrt discovered that spinning the throw of the ball increased accuracy and distance, establishing an aerial offense against such teams as Xavier University and Otterbein College.
In 1913 Mahrt switched to the St. Mary’s Cadets, the precursor of the future Dayton Triangles, he was also named the team's captain. Mahrt returned to St. Mary’s varsity in 1914, and captained the team. That season a 70-yard spiral to Babe Zimmerman against Ohio Northern University set a school record. Aside from his college career, Al continued to play for the Cadets. From 1913 until 1915 the team won the Dayton City Championship every year. In 1914 Mahrt was injured through most of the season, however in 1915 he was named the team's coach. In 1918, Mahrt joined the United States Army and served in World War I.
In 1920, Al led all passers in the American Professional Football Association (renamed the NFL in 1922), completing 28 aerials for 591 yards. He would also throw 7 touchdowns on the year. He was runner-up in 1921 completing 29 that were good for 452 yards. He was chosen to the 1920 All-Pro team, which placed him as a second team quarterback. He retired from the Triangles after the 1922 season.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Cottonton AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must 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 perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Right Welding Tech Program Cottonton AL
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means 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 some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Cottonton AL.