How to Choose the Right Welder Certificate Program near Centreville Alabama
Choosing the right welding trade school near Centreville AL is an important first step to starting 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding 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 establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Centreville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Centreville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some 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 various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Centreville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider 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 considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Centreville AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Centreville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Centreville AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure 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 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 Centreville AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Centreville AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides 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. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Centreville AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Centreville AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, 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 work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree 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 Centreville AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Centreville Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Centreville has a total area of 9.6 square miles (24.9 km2), of which 9.5 square miles (24.5 km2) are land and 0.15 square miles (0.4 km2), or 1.52%, is water.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Centreville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
Centreville is the site of the highest recorded temperature in the state of Alabama. On September 6, 1925, the temperature in Centreville reached the state record of 112 ºF. The data below are for the years 1916 to 1974.
Find the Right Welding Vocational School Centreville AL
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Engineer Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Centreville AL.