How to Pick the Right Welding Trade School near Pelham Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Pelham AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options available to get 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 available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Pelham AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Pelham AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Tech Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Pelham AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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 instance Welding Technology. So make certain 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Pelham AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help 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 refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Pelham AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Pelham AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Pelham AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Pelham AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Pelham AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Pelham AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Pelham AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Pelham Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Pelham is a city in Shelby County, Alabama, United States. It incorporated in July 1964. At the 2000 census the population was 14,369, but has grown to 21,352 recorded by the 2010 census. It was named for Confederate American Civil War officer John Pelham.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,369 people, 5,637 households, and 4,002 families residing in the city. The population density was 378.2 people per square mile (146.0/km²). There were 5,894 housing units at an average density of 155.1 per square mile (59.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.02% White, 3.97% Black or African American, 0.35% Native American, 1.68% Asian, 2.82% from other races, and 1.16% from two or more races. 6.42% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 5,637 households out of which 35.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.3% were married couples living together, 8.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.05.
Select the Right Welding Vocational Program Pelham AL
Selecting the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Certified Welding Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Pelham AL.