How to Select the Right Welding Training Program near Elba Alabama
Choosing the right welding school near Elba AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, 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 summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Elba AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing 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 potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Elba AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Elba AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Elba AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder 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. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Elba AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Elba AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Elba AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Elba AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely 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.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Elba AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Elba AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like 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 make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Elba AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Elba Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Elba is a city in Coffee County, Alabama, United States. At the time of the 2010 U.S. census, its population was 3,940. Elba is part of the Enterprise micropolitan statistical area. Elba is the official county seat of Coffee County, though there are two county courthouses, with the other one being located in the town of Enterprise.
The town which eventually became Elba originated near a ferry across the Pea River in the early 1830s. Originally called Bridgeville, a U.S. post office was established in the town by 1841. In 1851, a lottery to determine a new name for the town was held. One citizen had been reading a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his suggestion of "Elba" as its name was the winner when it was drawn from a hat before any of the other suggestions. Elba became the county seat of Coffee County in 1852.
A logging railroad first reached Elba on March 20, 1892, with the first permanent rail line arriving in October 1898. The "Dorsey Trailer Company" was constructed at the end of this railroad line, and this company manufactured the highway trailers that served on railroads and highways starting with the piggyback railroad or containerized cargo boom of the second half of the 20th century. The new railroad line ended in West Elba, where the "New Town" industrial section of the town was located. The Seaboard System Railroad ceased all railroad service to Elba, including freight service, on November 27, 1984.
Pick the Best Welding Trade School Elba AL
Selecting the best welder 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 Welding Training Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the 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 ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Elba AL.