How to Select the Right Welder Trade School near Loxley Alabama
Finding the right welding vocational school near Loxley AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining 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 develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Loxley AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Loxley AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Loxley AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain 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 choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Loxley 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 also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Loxley AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Loxley AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Loxley AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Loxley AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Loxley AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Loxley AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, 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 setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Loxley AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Loxley Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Loxley is a town in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town was 1,632. It is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area. Loxley is becoming a popular location for the expansion of the suburbs from Daphne and Spanish Fort, Alabama, because it is served by an Interstate 10 exit and is almost directly between the cities of Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida.
In 1870, a man from Chicago by the name of John Loxley established a lumber camp in the area previously known as Bennet. The lumber camp included a commissary and saw mill. The men that traveled with Loxley settled in what later became the town of Loxley. John Loxley returned to Chicago when the lumber was exhausted.
The train depot opened on May 5, 1906, on the Fort Morgan Line. Before that, there were only wagon roads to Bay Minette. Also in 1906, the Loxley post office was opened by Octavia Sauer. She served as the postmistress and depot agent. By 1920, the businesses in Loxley consisted of an egg store, grocery store, two general merchandise stores, train depot, drug store, telegraph office, land office, repair garage, post office, bank, hotel, butcher shop, orange packing shed, cement block plant, a blacksmith, a feed and lumber store. A grammar school was built in 1925.
Pick the Right Welding Technical School Loxley AL
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Bachelor Degree. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Loxley AL.