How to Choose a Welder Certificate Program near Monroeville Alabama
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Monroeville AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Monroeville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Monroeville AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Vocational Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Monroeville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn 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 sure 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, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Monroeville AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 Monroeville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 also that it has the network of Monroeville AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Monroeville AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered 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 welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Monroeville AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Monroeville AL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Monroeville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Monroeville 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.
It is known as the hometown of two prominent writers of the post-World War II period, Truman Capote and Harper Lee, who were childhood friends in the 1930s. Lee's 1960 novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, earned her the Pulitzer Prize. The lasting fame of To Kill a Mockingbird became a tourist draw for the town. In 1997, the Alabama Legislature designated Monroeville and Monroe County as the "Literary Capital of Alabama."
The town was initially known as Walker's Mill and Store, named for Major Walker, the area's first white settler. In 1832, the county seat was relocated to Monroeville from Claiborne on the Alabama River. The settlement was briefly renamed "Centerville" due to its location in the center of the county, but then it was formally changed to Monroeville. The town was not formally incorporated until April 15, 1899.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.4 square miles (34.7 km2), of which 13.4 square miles (34.6 km2) is land and 0.0077 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.05%, is water.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Monroeville AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their training and education. However, 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 need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Tech School Monroeville AL
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Monroeville AL.