How to Select a Welder Trade School near Valley Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder school near Valley AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick 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? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Valley AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the Valley AL welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Valley AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the Valley AL welder technical school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced Valley AL welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welder Tech School near Valley AL
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Valley AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Valley AL welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other Valley AL metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older 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 local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Valley AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using 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. Otherwise, ask a local Valley AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Valley AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been in Alabama and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Valley AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Looking at Welding Schools in Valley AL?
Chambers County, Alabama
Chambers County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 34,215. Its county seat is Lafayette. Its name is in honor of Henry H. Chambers, who served as a United States Senator from Alabama.
Chambers County joined its four mill cities to make the city of Valley (which is now the largest city). Valley is rapidly increasing in size and located between Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
As of the census of 2010, there were 34,215 people, 13,933 households, and 9,391 families residing in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 17,004 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58.8% White (non-Hispanic), 38.7% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 13,933 households out of which 24.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them,42.6% were married couples living together, 19.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.6% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 2.97.
Choose the Best Welding Vocational School near Valley AL
Choosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities 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 faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Valley AL.
Other Great Cities in Alabama