How to Pick a Welder Trade School near Clanton Alabama
Selecting the right welder trade school near Clanton AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent 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 Certificate and Degree Training
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Clanton AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Clanton AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree 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 offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds 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, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade Program
Once 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 welding trade and vocational schools in the Clanton AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Clanton AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 establish associations within the Clanton AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Clanton AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Clanton AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Clanton AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clanton AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Clanton AL?
Perhaps you live in the Clanton 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.
Clanton is a city in Chilton County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Birmingham–Hoover–Cullman Combined Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 8,619. The city is the county seat of Chilton County. Clanton is the site of the geographic center of the U.S state of Alabama.
The town was founded by Alfred Baker in 1868, when Chilton County was formed. Prior to establishment in 1868, the Town of Clanton was known as the community of "Goose Pond". Baker County was renamed to Chilton County and the community of "Goose Pond" became the Town of Clanton. Clanton was named in honor of General James H. Clanton, a brigadier in the Confederate States Army, and was incorporated on April 23, 1873. Baker was also elected first mayor of the town.
Nearby Lay Lake Dam and Mitchell Dam became Alabama Power's first two dams in the state, bringing economic improvements to the area. Immigrants played a part in starting the county's peach industry more than a century ago. Today, the peach industry is the number one industry in Chilton County, not only bringing fame to the county, but also millions of dollars to the local economy. The city of Clanton constructed a water tower in the form of a peach in 1993, becoming a landmark for travelers along Interstate 65.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Clanton AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Tech School Clanton AL
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Clanton AL.