How to Choose the Right Welder Trade School near Jackson Alabama
Choosing the right welder vocational school near Jackson AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Jackson AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Jackson AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some 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 local area and make sure that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Jackson AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds 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 example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Jackson AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various 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 assistance program. The 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Jackson AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Jackson AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable 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 Jackson AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Jackson AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Jackson AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Jackson AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide 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 use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Jackson AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Jackson Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Al Jackson Jr.
Albert J. Jackson Jr. (November 27, 1935 – October 1, 1975) was an American drummer, producer, and songwriter. He was a founding member of Booker T. & the M.G.'s, a group of session musicians who worked for Stax Records and produced their own instrumentals. Jackson was affectionately dubbed "The Human Timekeeper" for his drumming ability. He was inducted into the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2015.
Jackson's father, Al Jackson Sr., led a jazz/swing dance band in Memphis, Tennessee. The young Jackson started drumming at an early age and began playing on stage with his father's band in 1940, at the age of five. He later played in producer and trumpeter Willie Mitchell's band and at the same time was holding down a chair in the popular Ben Branch Band.
Future bandmates Steve Cropper and Donald "Duck" Dunn first heard Jackson playing in Mitchell's band at the Flamingo Room, and the all-white Manhattan Club. Mitchell had also hired Booker T. Jones for his band. It was Jones who suggested Jackson be brought to Stax. He said, "You guys need to know about Al." Dunn said that Jackson almost caused his wife to divorce him, because after finishing his own gig at one o'clock, he would stop by a club to hear Jackson and would get home at four or five in the morning; "He was that good!" said Dunn. At first, Jackson was reluctant to join Stax. He felt he could make more money playing live than doing session work. He wanted a guaranteed regular salary to come over to Stax (although he continued to play on sessions produced by Mitchell for Hi Records). And so he became the first Stax session musician to be on a weekly salary.
Choose the Right Welding Technical School Jackson AL
Choosing the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where Can I Learn To Weld. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Jackson AL.