How to Select the Right Welder Certification Class near Valley Alabama
Selecting the right welding trade school near Valley AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Valley AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to teach 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing 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 check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Valley AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Valley AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people look at 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 program you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Valley AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Valley AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 Valley AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Valley AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Valley AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Valley AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Valley AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Valley AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Valley Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Chambers County, Alabama
Chambers County is a county of the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census the population was 34,215. Its county seat is Lafayette. Its name is in honor of Henry H. Chambers, who served as a United States Senator from Alabama.
Chambers County joined its four mill cities to make the city of Valley (which is now the largest city). Valley is rapidly increasing in size and located between Montgomery, Alabama and Atlanta, Georgia.
As of the census of 2010, there were 34,215 people, 13,933 households, and 9,391 families residing in the county. The population density was 57 people per square mile (22/km2). There were 17,004 housing units at an average density of 28 per square mile (11/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58.8% White (non-Hispanic), 38.7% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.6% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Valley AL
Selecting the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Coded Welder Training. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Valley AL.