How to Enroll In a Welder Certificate Program near Calera Alabama
Choosing the right welding technical school near Calera AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Calera 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 nature, fashioned primarily 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Calera AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Calera AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most 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 must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Calera AL for non-accredited schools. 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. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Calera AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Calera AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Calera AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Calera AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Calera AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Calera AL?
Perhaps you live in the Calera 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.
As of the 2010 census Calera had a population of 11,620, more than tripling its total in 2000, making it the fastest-growing city in Alabama. It is within the Birmingham-Hoover, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Calera is located in southern Shelby County at 33°06′27″N 86°45′00″W / 33.107572°N 86.749964°W / 33.107572; -86.749964. The city limits extend southward into Chilton County along U.S. Route 31, the main highway through the city. Interstate 65 passes through the eastern side of the city, with access from exits 228, 231, and 234.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.4 square miles (63.1 km2), of which 24.1 square miles (62.4 km2) is land and 0.27 square miles (0.7 km2), or 1.17%, is water.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Calera AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Ideal Welding Trade Program Calera AL
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Calera AL.