How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certification Course near Clanton Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding school near Clanton AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welding vocational 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 wise to develop 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Clanton AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Clanton AL employers not only require a certificate or degree 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 performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Clanton AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as 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 organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Clanton AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Clanton AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Clanton AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Clanton AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Clanton AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clanton AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Clanton AL area that can 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 education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Clanton AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Clanton Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 8,619. The city is the county seat of Chilton County. Clanton is near the site of the geographic center of the U.S state of Alabama.
The town was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Prior to establishment in 1868, the Town of Clanton was known as the community of "Goose Pond". Baker County was renamed to Chilton County and the community of "Goose Pond" became the Town of Clanton. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town.
Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power's first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county's peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
Find the Best Welding Tech School Clanton AL
Selecting the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Learn Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Clanton AL.