How to Pick the Right Welding Training Program near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Pleasant Grove AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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 Training Courses
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Pleasant Grove AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Pleasant Grove AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Pleasant Grove AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide 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 choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Pleasant Grove AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other 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 associations within the Pleasant Grove AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Pleasant Grove AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Pleasant Grove AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Pleasant Grove AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Pleasant Grove AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Pleasant Grove AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Pleasant Grove AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Pleasant Grove Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Pleasant Grove, Alabama
It was established in 1889, but incorporated as a city in January 1937. The incorporation came about by reason of a rather unusual circumstance. The town sits on land honeycombed by coal mines. For many years the residents had relied on water wells for their water supply. As years passed and more mining was done, Pleasant Grove found itself confronted with a problem. Residents would sometimes go to their well to draw water only to find there was none. The water had gone into the mines.
During the mid to late 30s, the Federal Government had a program for financing the building of local water systems. In exploring the possibility of securing such funds, it was revealed that in order to secure such financing a community must be legally incorporated. At this time the incorporation became a reality.
The first appointed Mayor of Pleasant Grove was W.P. Stone. The city is governed by a mayor and five council members who serve four-year terms. Elections for city officials is held during the summer of each leap year with four-year terms beginning the first Monday in October. The area known as Pleasant Grove, Alabama was first homesteaded in September 1836. Pleasant Grove is in Jefferson County. Although no one seems to know when or exactly how the town came by its name, old documents indicate that at least part of this area was called Pleasant Grove as early as 1884. Pleasant Grove was made up of four communities which included Frog Pond, Lizard Ridge, Cottage Hill, and Pleasant Grove.
Find the Right Welding Technical Program Pleasant Grove AL
Choosing the ideal welding school will probably 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 The Best Welding School. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Pleasant Grove AL.