How to Select the Right Welding Trade School near Ragland Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Ragland AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational 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 cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to get 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Ragland AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a 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 supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Ragland AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just 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 various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate 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 choose preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Ragland AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 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, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick 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 ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Ragland AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Ragland AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Ragland AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Ragland AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Ragland AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ragland AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Ragland AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with 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 better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Ragland AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Ragland Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Reggie Keith Ragland Jr. (born September 23, 1993) is an American football linebacker for the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Alabama and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
A native of Madison, Alabama, Ragland attended Bob Jones High School, where he was a varsity player in both football and basketball. As a sophomore, he played small forward on a basketball team that upset No. 1 Homewood to win the 2009–2010 AHSAA Class 6A Championship, with Levi Randolph being named MVP. Meanwhile, on the football field Ragland had 40 receptions as a tight end and six touchdowns. Mostly playing defense as a junior, he recorded 91 tackles in 2010 with 21 tackles-for-loss. Bob Jones went 8–4 over the season, losing 21–28 to Clay-Chalkville in the first round of the 6A playoffs. In his senior season, Ragland was credited with 97 tackles with 22 tackles-for-loss and six sacks. The Patriots allowed only 13 points per game and were 10–2 on the season, losing to the eventual 6A state runner-up Hoover in the second round of the playoffs. Ragland was also on the Patriots track & field team, where he competed in the discus throw and the shot put.
Regarded as a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Ragland was listed as the No. 1 inside linebacker prospect in his class. Shortly after his junior season, he committed to Alabama over Auburn, Florida, and Tennessee.
Pick the Best Welding Technical Program Ragland AL
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Engineer Course. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Ragland AL.