How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Anniston Alabama
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Anniston AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Anniston AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. 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 supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Anniston AL employers not only require 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 available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Anniston AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Anniston AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Anniston AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Anniston AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities 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 unsure 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 Anniston AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Anniston AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Anniston AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Anniston AL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Anniston Alabama area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Select the Best Welding Tech School Anniston AL
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Underwater Welding Schools. However, as we have addressed 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 necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour 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 end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Anniston AL.