How to Choose a Welder Technical School near Greenville Alabama
Choosing the right welder technical school near Greenville AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting 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 concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Greenville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep 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 various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Greenville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Greenville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. 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 pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Greenville AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Greenville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean 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 a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Greenville AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Greenville AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Greenville AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some 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 evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Greenville AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Greenville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Greenville 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.
Greenville is a city in Butler County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census, the population was 8,135. The city is the county seat of Butler County and is known as the Camellia City. The movement to change the official Alabama state flower from the goldenrod to the camellia originated in Greenville with legislative sponsors LaMont Glass and H.B. Taylor.
Greenville was first settled in 1819. Its original name was Buttsville, but after becoming the county seat in 1822, its name was changed to Greenville, in remembrance of the former locale in South Carolina of many of the original settlers. The first county seat was at Fort Dale, a fortification that was named for Sam Dale, who fought to defend the area during the Creek War. The site of Fort Dale lies on the north of the city near the Fort Dale Cemetery, along what is now Alabama Highway 185.
The namesake of the county, Captain William Butler, was killed during the Creek War. He is buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, which is across from the oldest church in Butler County, the First United Methodist Church of Greenville.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Greenville AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with 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 important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Vocational School Greenville AL
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Greenville AL.