How to Select a Welding Certification Program near Abbeville Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding trade school near Abbeville AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Abbeville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Abbeville AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical School
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Abbeville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Abbeville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Abbeville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Abbeville AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to 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 similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Abbeville AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Abbeville AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the teachers 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. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Abbeville AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Abbeville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Abbeville Alabama area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Abbeville is a city in Henry County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census, the population was 2,688. The city is the county seat of Henry County. It is the first city alphabetically, both by city and state, in the Rand McNally Road Atlas. It has two high schools: the public Abbeville High School and private Abbeville Christian Academy. Chapters of the Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity operate here.
Abbeville is located at 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139Coordinates: 31°33′59″N 85°15′5″W / 31.56639°N 85.25139°W / 31.56639; -85.25139 (31.566367, -85.251300). The city is located in southeastern Alabama along U.S. Route 431, Alabama State Route 10, and Alabama State Route 27 approximately 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Dothan and 23 mi (37 km) south-southwest of Eufaula.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Abbeville has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Abbeville AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Technical School Abbeville AL
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Abbeville AL.