How to Select the Right Welder Technical School near Atmore Alabama
Choosing the right welding technical school near Atmore AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate 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 factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Atmore AL.
- 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 scope, created primarily to develop 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Atmore AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Technical Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Atmore AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance 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 mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Atmore AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other 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 help students find employment and develop relationships within the Atmore 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 essential that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 industry, but also that it has the network of Atmore AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Atmore AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Atmore AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Atmore AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Atmore 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 provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Atmore AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Atmore Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Atmore is a city in Escambia County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in 1907. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 10,194, with an estimated population of 10,006 in 2014. Atmore is in the planning stages to increase its economic base with additions in its new Rivercane development along the I-65 corridor.
Atmore has completed requirements to be recognized as an Alabama Community of Excellence at the upcoming Alabama League of Municipalities Convention. City officials are also working with the Alabama Historical Commission to have the downtown district listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Atmore is located in western Escambia County at 31°1′23″N 87°29′31″W / 31.02306°N 87.49194°W / 31.02306; -87.49194 (31.023183, -87.492067). Its southern border is the Florida state line. The center of town is at the intersection of U.S. Route 31 and Alabama State Route 21, while a new section of the city has been incorporated 6 miles (10 km) to the north around Exit 57 of Interstate 65. US 31 leads southwest 20 miles (32 km) to Bay Minette and east 28 miles (45 km) to Brewton. Mobile is 51 miles (82 km) to the southwest via US 31 and I-65, while Pensacola, Florida, is 49 miles (79 km) south via AL 21, Florida State Road 97, and U.S. Route 29.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational Program Atmore AL
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Trade Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Atmore AL.