How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Centre Alabama
Locating the right welding technical school near Centre AL is an essential first step to starting 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible to establish 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 Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Centre AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Centre AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Centre AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you select 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Centre AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after 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 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Centre AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Centre AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Centre AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Centre AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Centre AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Centre AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start 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 accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Centre AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Centre Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Centre is a city in Cherokee County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 3,489. The city is the county seat of Cherokee County and is part of the Gadsden, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Cherokee County was created on January 9, 1836, and named for the Cherokee people who once lived in the area. The famous Cherokee chief Pathkiller lived in Turkeytown near the present town of Centre. In 1836 the newly founded town of Cedar Bluff became the county seat, but in 1844 the county seat was moved to the more centrally located town of Centre. The name was chosen, and carries the British English spelling, because of this central location in the county. In 2011, Centre began allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages, and is no longer a dry city.
Centre is located slightly west of the center of Cherokee County at 34°9'33.052" North, 85°40'29.071" West (34.159181, -85.674742). The city limits extend north to the south shore of Weiss Lake on the Coosa River.
Find the Best Welding Tech School Centre AL
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Pipe Welding Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour 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 result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Centre AL.