How to Select the Right Welding Certification Program near Selma Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding school near Selma AL is an essential first step to starting your new career 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Selma AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Selma AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like 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
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Selma AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most 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 should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Selma AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Selma 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 crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Selma AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Selma AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Selma AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs 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, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with 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 profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Selma AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Selma AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Selma Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, in the Black Belt region of south central Alabama and extending to the west. Located on the banks of the Alabama River, the city has a population of 20,756 as of the 2010 census.
The city is best known for the 1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches, beginning with "Bloody Sunday" in March 1965 and ending with 25,000 people entering Montgomery at the end of the last march to press for voting rights. This activism generated national attention to social justice and that summer, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by Congress to authorize federal oversight and enforcement of constitutional rights of all citizens.
It had been a trading center and market town during the years of King Cotton in the South. It was also an important armaments manufacturing and iron shipbuilding center during the Civil War, surrounded by miles of earthen fortifications. The Confederate forces were defeated during the Battle of Selma.
Select the Best Welding Trade Program Selma AL
Picking the ideal welder school 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 Welding Certification Online Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Selma AL.