How to Choose the Right Welder Trade School near Excel Alabama
Selecting the right welder trade school near Excel AL is an essential first step to starting your new career 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to establish 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple 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 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 offered in the Excel AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Excel AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Excel AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 superior education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Excel AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after 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 associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Excel AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Excel AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Excel AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Excel AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely 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 subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain 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 witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Excel AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Excel AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree 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 Excel AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Excel Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Excel is the birthplace of former University of Alabama and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. Excel High School (3A) provides education for children in and around the town of Excel. Businesses within the town include Dollar General, post office, a "do-it-yourself" car wash, a laundromat, hardware store, a locally-run diner and one bank.
As of the census of 2010, there were 723 people, 270 households, and 205 families residing in the town. The population density was 425.3 people per square mile (168.1/km2). There were 295 housing units at an average density of 173.5 per square mile (68.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 0.1% some other race, and 2.4% from two or more races. 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 270 households out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were headed by married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68, and the average family size was 3.11.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational School Excel AL
Picking the right welding training program 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 Welding Classes Online. 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 necessity that any welding school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration 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 training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Excel AL.