How to Select the Right Welder Trade School near Russellville Alabama
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Russellville AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 options available 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Russellville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Russellville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally 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, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Russellville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Russellville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Russellville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Russellville AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Russellville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Russellville AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true 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 regional 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 instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask 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 see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Russellville AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Russellville AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Russellville AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Russellville Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Russellville is a city in Franklin County in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,830, up from 8,971 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Franklin County.
After the War of 1812, the U.S. government appropriated money to improve a route from Nashville to New Orleans. It was named Jackson's Military Road after Andrew Jackson, and it passed through what became Russellville. (Present-day Jackson Avenue and Jackson Highway, U.S. Route 43, follow portions of the original road.)
Russellville is named after Major William Russell, an early settler in the area who helped in the construction of Jackson's Military Road. The town grew at this road's intersection with the Gaines Trace.
Pick the Best Welding Trade Program Russellville AL
Choosing the right welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where To Get A Welding Certificate. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Russellville AL.