How to Select a Welder Training Program near Greensboro Alabama
Finding the right welding trade school near Greensboro AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Greensboro AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Greensboro AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Greensboro AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Greensboro AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Greensboro AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Greensboro AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools 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 taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Greensboro 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 couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Greensboro AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk 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 have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure 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 Greensboro AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Greensboro AL?
Perhaps you live in the Greensboro 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.
Greensboro is a city in Hale County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 2,497, down from 2,731 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Hale County, Alabama, which was not organized until 1867. It is part of the Tuscaloosa, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Greensboro was incorporated as a town in December 1823 as "Greensborough". It was named in honor of American Revolutionary War general Nathanael Greene. The name was soon simplified to "Greensboro". The community was known as "Troy" prior to incorporation.
Reflecting the history of the antebellum years and a culture built on cotton plantations to produce the commodity crop, several sites on the National Register of Historic Places in or near Greensboro are connected to this past. These include Glencairn, the Greensboro Historic District, Magnolia Grove, the McGehee-Stringfellow House, Millwood, and the Payne House.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Greensboro AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis 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 accomplished 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 desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Tech Program Greensboro AL
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly 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 evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Greensboro AL.
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