How to Choose a Welder Certification Program near Arlington Alabama
Locating the ideal welding technical school near Arlington AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 develop 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Arlington AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. 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 supplemental 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 certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Arlington AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Trade Program
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 many welding trade and vocational schools in the Arlington AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as 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 help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Arlington AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Arlington AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Arlington AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Arlington AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Arlington AL home. If you do decide 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 the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Arlington AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Arlington AL?
Perhaps you live in the Arlington 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.
Arlington County, Virginia
Arlington County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia, often referred to simply as Arlington or Arlington, Virginia. In 2016, the county's population was estimated at 230,050, making it the sixth-largest county in Virginia, or the fourth-largest city if it were incorporated as such. It is the 5th highest-income county in the U.S. by median family income and has the highest concentration of singles in the region.
The county is coterminous with the U.S. Census Bureau's census-designated place of Arlington. Though a county, it is also treated as the second-largest principal city of the Washington metropolitan area.
The county is situated in Northern Virginia on the southwestern bank of the Potomac River directly across from the District of Columbia, of which it was once a part. With a land area of 26 square miles (67 km2), Arlington is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the U.S., and by reason of state law regarding population density, has no incorporated towns within its borders. Due to the county's proximity to downtown Washington, D.C., Arlington is home to many important installations for the capital region and U.S. government, including the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, and Arlington National Cemetery. Many schools and universities have campuses in Arlington, most prominently the Antonin Scalia Law School of George Mason University.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Arlington AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Technical School Arlington AL
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Arlington AL.