How to Find the Right Welding Degree Program near Eight Mile Alabama
Selecting the right welding technical school near Eight Mile AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Eight Mile AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 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 specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Eight Mile AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Eight Mile AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Eight Mile 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.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Eight Mile AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Eight Mile AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 Eight Mile AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Eight Mile AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Eight Mile AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Eight Mile AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start 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. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Eight Mile AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Eight Mile Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Eight Mile, Alabama
Eight Mile is an unincorporated community in Mobile County, Alabama, United States. The community is named for its distance from the city of Mobile. Part of it was annexed in the mid-20th century by the city of Prichard, Alabama.
In 2008 lightning struck a mercaptan storage tank at a Mobile Gas Service Corp. underground natural gas pipeline at the Whistler Junction gas transfer facility within the Eight Mile community. An estimated 500 US gallons (1,900 l; 420 imp gal) of Mercaptan, the chemical odorant added to natural gas to help detect leaks, spilled into the soil and groundwater for 6 months, according to Alabama state environmental officials. It has migrated to ponds and surfaced, polluting the community's air.
Beginning in 2011, residents in Eight Mile began complaining of an overwhelming mercaptan odor and associated health problems. They have concerns about the damage to their health from the chemical, and to property values from its persistent rotten egg smell. They appealed for a state and federal investigation.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational School Eight Mile AL
Picking the right welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Classes Cost. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Eight Mile AL.