How to Pick a Welding Trade School near Piedmont Alabama
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Piedmont AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options available to obtain 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Piedmont AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Piedmont AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available 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
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Vocational Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Piedmont AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick 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 consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Piedmont AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Piedmont AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Piedmont AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure 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 Piedmont AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Piedmont AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Piedmont AL, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Piedmont AL?
Perhaps you live in the Piedmont 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.
Piedmont is a city in Calhoun and Cherokee counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 4,878 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. Many surrounding communities are served by the 36272 ZIP code, including Spring Garden, Rock Run, Knighten's Crossroads, and Nance's Creek. The current mayor is Bill Baker, who was chosen by the city council to lead after elected mayor Rick Freeman resigned due to medical issues.
The area now known as Piedmont is a community that began in the early 1840s, located at the crossroads of two early post roads. Major Jacob Forney Dailey of North Carolina came to Alabama in 1848 and bought land in present-day Piedmont. Major Dailey named the area Cross Plains, and an official post office with that name was established on September 22, 1851.
In Reconstruction-era Alabama, an incident at Cross Plains affected race relations and the future of the northeast section of the state for generations as a result of the lynching of William Luke, a northern missionary, and several other men in 1870. In that year, the new northern-owned railroad to connect Washington, D.C. and the North with New Orleans was to have its headquarters near the small northeast Alabama town, at Patona. After the Ku Klux Klan-led lynchings, however, the headquarters was moved, and the town never achieved the dominant position in Calhoun County, with Anniston, founded the next year, achieving that status instead.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Piedmont AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, 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 performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Technical School Piedmont AL
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers 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 teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Piedmont AL.