How to Find the Right Welder Certification Class near Gardendale Alabama
Finding the right welder technical school near Gardendale AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding trade 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 prudent 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Gardendale AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded 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 prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Gardendale AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some 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 in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Gardendale AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Gardendale AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Gardendale AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Gardendale AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Gardendale AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Gardendale AL home. If you do decide 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 true for welding 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 regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gardendale AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Gardendale AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished 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 want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Gardendale AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Gardendale Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
A large farm settlement near the area today known as Gardendale was settled around 1825. Some years later, other settlers began to move into the community commonly known as Jugtown, a name given to the area based on the presence of a large jug and churn factory that operated in the area. Some years later, Hettie Thomason Cargo, a school teacher, would lead a campaign to change the name of the community. In 1906, the name Gardendale was selected, and in 1955, the City of Gardendale was officially incorporated. Today, with more than 13,000 residents (estimated), the city of Gardendale has grown to include more than 400 businesses, 4 schools, and 24 churches.
In 1996, the Olympic torch run passed through the city during the weeks leading up to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before Interstate 65 was constructed, the main route between Nashville, Tennessee and Birmingham, Alabama was U.S. Route 31. Prior to being built as a four-lane road, U.S. 31 was a twisting two-lane road that is still largely visible today. From the north end of Gardendale, it is now Snow Rogers Road, North Road, Moncrief Road, and then Main Street southward through the city to the Fultondale city limit where it becomes Stouts Road. In the fall of 2008, new signs were placed along the original route of Stouts Road through Gardendale denoting its historical significance as a stagecoach route between Tennessee and Birmingham during the 19th century. The first traffic signals in the city were located along U.S. 31 at Tarrant Road, Fieldstown Road, and Moncrief Road as well as Tarrant Road at Pineywood Road. A new signal at the intersection of Fieldstown Road and Main Street near city hall replaced a blinking signal shortly thereafter. Fieldstown Road was a narrow two lane road from U.S. 31 westward until Interstate 65 was built and then Fieldstown Road was re-routed onto the new road in the mid-1980s. An abundance of traffic signals have been erected in the city since those early days. In approximately 1970, the city installed street lights along U.S. 31 from the Fultondale city limits northward to the Moncrief Road intersection. The technology at that time was for blue vapor lights. Today, nearly 40 years later those same blue vapor lights still exist with some being replaced with the more modern bulbs near major intersections. Since 1980, Gardendale has annexed considerable amounts of land on the north, east, and west sides. Much of the eastern area is uninhabited. The western annexation is centered along Fieldstown Road. Most of the newest residential development has been in this area and along Shady Grove Road south of Fieldstown Road. The northern annexation has centered along US 31 and extends nearly 2 miles (3.2 km) farther north than 1980. The city has a working historical society, established January 23, 2006, that is working to record the history of the Gardendale area. They have a museum that is open to the public on Saturday mornings each week. It contains a variety of photographs, documents, and other historical memorabilia from Gardendale.
Gardendale is located at 33°39′36″N 86°48′46″W / 33.66000°N 86.81278°W / 33.66000; -86.81278 (33.6601033, -86.8127702). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.0 square miles (47 km2), all land. However, with the recent annexation of several thousand acres from the community of Mt. Olive and other unincorporated areas, the city now has an estimated total area of around 25.0 square miles (65 km2). Gardendale is situated along one of the three major transportation corridors from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast (I-75, I-65, I-55). A tremendous volume of freight (via rail and truck) passes through or near Gardendale.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade Program Gardendale AL
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Weekend Welding Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Gardendale AL.