How to Pick the Right Welding Certificate Program near Foley Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding vocational school near Foley 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 know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Foley AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish 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.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Foley AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Foley AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Foley AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after 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 associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Foley AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Foley AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify 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 working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 Foley AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Foley AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Foley AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Foley AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Foley AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Foley Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Foley is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 14,618. Foley is a principal city of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Baldwin County.
Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago.As Foley was traveling to President McKinley's funeral in 1901, he met a railroad agent who told him of the area in South Baldwin County. Foley came down the following year, and he liked what he saw and bought up to between 40,000 acres (160 km2) and 50,000 acres (200 km2) of land. He then returned to Chicago and formed the Magnolia Springs Land Company, currently known as the Magnolia Land Company. As he began to sell off acreage, he realized the need for a better way for the people to come to Foley.
Foley used some of his own money to lay the rails so the train could come from Bay Minette. The first railroad station was built in 1905. The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the City's museum. John Foley donated parcels of land for a school, railroad station, park and churches. These included the current Catholic Church, Saint Margaret of Scotland, the Baptist church and the Methodist church. He also invested in a hotel, a demonstration farm, a bank and the utility company.
Select the Ideal Welding Tech Program Foley AL
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Degree In Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Foley AL.