How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Evergreen Alabama
Finding the right welding technical school near Evergreen AL is an important first step to starting 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Evergreen AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Evergreen AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based 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
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally 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 just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Evergreen AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people look at 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 pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. 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 make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Evergreen AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships 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 assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Evergreen AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Evergreen AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm 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 working with on the job. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Evergreen AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Evergreen AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region 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 be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Evergreen AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Evergreen AL?
Perhaps you live in the Evergreen 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.
Evergreen, Conecuh County, Alabama
Early settlers to the area came from Georgia and South Carolina beginning in 1818. Evergreen was founded officially in 1819 when Revolutionary War veteran James Cosey and several other men settled within the present limits of the city. The Reverend Alexander Travis first called the town by its present name of Evergreen for the abundance of surrounding green foliage, plants, and ferns.
The former county seat of Sparta was burned in a federal raid during the Civil War. In 1866, the county seat was moved to Evergreen as it was more centrally located in the county. Evergreen was incorporated as a city on March 28, 1873.
In 1882, a tornado hit the city, destroying every building except for the Episcopal church. On November 7, 1895, fire destroyed every business and house located on the east side of the railroad. Five days later, fire destroyed every business and house on the west side. The Conecuh County Courthouse burned in 1868, 1875, 1885, and 1895.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Evergreen AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start 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. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Tech School Evergreen AL
Picking the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a lot 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 offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Evergreen AL.