How to Pick a Welding Training Program near Dauphin Island Alabama
Choosing the right welding technical school near Dauphin Island AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Many people start by checking out 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 important considerations when examining welding vocational 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 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
There are several alternatives available to get 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Dauphin Island AL.
- Certificate and Diploma 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 mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Dauphin Island 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 variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some 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 various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various 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 welder vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Tech School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Dauphin Island AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic 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, for instance Welding Technology. So verify 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 organization, like 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 obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Dauphin Island AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older 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 relationships within the Dauphin Island AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Dauphin Island AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Dauphin Island AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Dauphin Island AL home. If you do decide to enroll in 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 welder diploma 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dauphin Island AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Dauphin Island AL?
Perhaps you live in the Dauphin Island 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.
Dauphin Island, Alabama
Dauphin Island is a town in Mobile County, Alabama, United States, on a barrier island of the same name (split by the Katrina Cut), at the Gulf of Mexico. It incorporated in 1988. The population was 1,238 at the 2010 census. The town is included in the Mobile metropolitan area. The island (originally named "Massacre Island") was renamed for Louis XIV of France's great-grandson and heir, the dauphin, the future Louis XV of France. The name of the island is often mistaken as "Dolphin Island"; dauphin is "dolphin" in the French language.
The Gulf of Mexico is to the south of the island; the Mississippi Sound and Mobile Bay are to the north. The island's eastern end helps define the mouth of Mobile Bay. The eastern, wider portion of the island is shaded by thick stands of pine trees and saw palmettos, but the narrow, western part of the island features scrub growth and few trees.
Dauphin Island is home to Fort Gaines, Dauphin Island Sea Lab, The Estuarium public aquarium, the Dauphin Island Airport, boat ramps, a large public pier (that sits on dry land), historic sites, several restaurants, new condominium developments, and numerous private homes. Beaches attract tourism, and fishing is a popular activity in the waters around the island. The island is connected to the mainland by the Gordon Persons Bridge.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Dauphin Island AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Dauphin Island AL
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way 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 sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Dauphin Island AL.