How to Choose the Right Welder Degree Program near Union Springs Alabama
Finding the right welder vocational school near Union Springs AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welder technical 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options available to receive 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Union Springs AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Union Springs AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Union Springs AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance 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 mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Union Springs AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist 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 place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Union Springs AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Union Springs AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Union Springs AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Union Springs AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local 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 important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Union Springs AL, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Union Springs AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Union Springs AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Union Springs Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Union Springs, Alabama
The area that became Union Springs was first settled by white men after the Creek Indian removal of the 1830s. Twenty-seven springs watered the land, giving rise to the name of Union Springs. The city was incorporated on January 13, 1844. When Bullock County was formed in 1866, voters selected Union Springs as the county seat.
Union Springs is located in southeastern Alabama near the center of Bullock County at 32°8'24.407" North, 85°42'46.094" West (32.140113, -85.712804). The source of the Conecuh River is within the city limits.
The city is located at the intersection of U.S. Route 82 and U.S. Route 29. Route 82 leads east 40 miles (64 km) to Eufaula and northwest 46 miles (74 km) to Montgomery, the state capital. Route 29 leads north 23 miles (37 km) to Tuskegee and southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Troy.
Find the Right Welding Trade School Union Springs AL
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Coded Welder Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect 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 right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Union Springs AL.