How to Pick the Right Welding Training Class near Fruitdale Alabama
Finding the right welder vocational school near Fruitdale AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Fruitdale AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 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 experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Fruitdale AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Fruitdale AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds 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 example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Fruitdale AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing 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 should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Fruitdale AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 also that it has the network of Fruitdale AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Fruitdale AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Fruitdale AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fruitdale AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Fruitdale 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 provide a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Fruitdale AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Fruitdale Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
U.S. Route 45 in Alabama
In the U.S. state of Alabama, U.S. Route 45 (US 45) is a 60-mile-long (97 km) north–south United States Highway in the east south central state of Alabama. It travels from Mobile to the Mississippi state line, just east of State Line, Mississippi. The highway's southern terminus is in Mobile, at an intersection with US 98. Its northern terminus in the state of Alabama is at the Mississippi state line, where the highway continues to the northwest into that state.
In Alabama, all of the U.S. Highways have one or more unsigned state highways designated along its length. US 45 travels concurrently with State Route 17 (SR 17) from its southern terminus to just north of Deer Park. For the rest of its length in the state, the highway travels concurrently with SR 57.
US 45, along with unsigned SR 17, begins at an intersection with US 98 (Spring Hill Avenue; unsigned SR 42) in the central part of Mobile, in Mobile County. US 45 heads to the northwest and travels just north of Lyons Park and skirts along the northeastern edge of USA Children's & Women's Hospital. It crosses over Threemile Creek and curves to the north-northwest. It passes just to the east of Washington Middle School and Carver Park. Just after passing Gorgas Park and LeFlore Magnet High School, the highway curves back to the northwest. At an intersection with West Prichard Avenue, it leaves Mobile and enters Prichard. It crosses over some railroad tracks of Canadian National Railway just before an interchange with Interstate 65 (I-65). The highway passes Whispering Pines Cemetery just before crossing over Eightmile Creek. Almost immediately, it intersects the southern terminus of SR 213 (South Shelton Beach Road). Approximately 1,000 feet (300 m) later is an intersection with the southern terminus of SR 217 (Lott Road). US 45 passes John F. Fagerstrom Municipal Park and then Collins–Rhodes Elementary School. It curves to the north-northeast and crosses over Seabury Creek. The highway curves to a nearly due north direction and has an interchange with SR 158 (Industrial Parkway). It curves back to the northwest and travels through Kushla, which is within the city limits of Prichard. Immediately after leaving the city, the highway crosses over Magee Creek. It then enters Mauvilla. Here, it intersects the southern terminus of County Route 78 (CR 78; Spice Pond Road). Just northeast of Mauvilla Cemetery is an intersection with the southern terminus of CR 55 (Kali Oka Road). US 45 curves to the north-northwest, leaves Mauvilla, and crosses over Williams Creek. It curves to the north and crosses over Silver Creek. It curves to the north-northeast and enters Chunchula. The highway curves back to the north-northwest and enters the main part of the community. There, the highway has an intersection with CR 63 (Chunchula–Georgetown Road/Roberts Road). It curves back to the northwest and crosses over Beaver Pond Creek. It curves back to the north-northwest and crosses over Sweetwater and Drinking branches. It heads to the north-northeast and crosses over Sand Hill Creek. In Gulfcrest, the highway intersects the eastern terminus of CR 92 (Gulfcrest Road). The highway curves to the north and passes McDavid–Jones Elementary School. Then, it enters Citronelle. Almost immediately is an intersection with CR 41 (Celeste Road), which begins to parallel the U.S. Highway. It passes Lott Middle School and then Pilgrims Rest Cemetery. At an intersection with the southern terminus of Main Street, CR 41 ends its paralleling of US 45. It curves to the north and crosses over Puppy Creek. In the main part of Citronelle, it has an intersection with both CR 96 (West State Street) and the northern terminus of CR 41 (East State Street). CR 96 has a brief unsigned concurrency with US 45. On the northeastern edge of the intersection is War Memorial Park. One block later, CR 96 splits off to the east, onto Lebaron Avenue. On the northeastern edge of the intersection, US 45 passes the new campus of Citronelle High School. It curves to the north-northwest and briefly leaves Citronelle. It passes Wesleyan Christian Academy and then re-enters the city for a very short stint. During the last stint, it crosses over Bennett Creek. Upon leaving the city, it enters Washington County.
Find the Right Welding Vocational School Fruitdale AL
Choosing the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Technology Degree. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Fruitdale AL.