How to Find the Right Welder Certification Program near Semmes Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder trade school near Semmes AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Semmes AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Semmes AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some 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 kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade School
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Semmes AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, 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 acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Semmes AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Semmes AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Semmes AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Semmes AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Semmes AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to 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. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement 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 subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Semmes AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Semmes AL?
Perhaps you live in the Semmes 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.
Semmes (pronounced /sɛmz/, locally /sɪmz/) is a city in western Mobile County, Alabama, in the Mobile metropolitan statistical area. Formerly an unincorporated community, voters in Semmes approved incorporation of a part of the community as the city of Semmes on August 17, 2010. After a statutory enumeration, or census, the town was officially declared incorporated on May 2, 2011, by Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis. The statutory census indicated that the town has a population of 2,897 people. It covers 2,100 acres (850 ha). The current Mayor is David Baker. He is the 2nd Mayor of the city, succeeding Judy Hale.
Semmes is located at 30.778N, -88.259W. Elevation is 256 feet. The Semmes area is bounded to the North by the Citronelle area, bounded to the East by the cities of Saraland and Prichard, bounded to the South by the city of Mobile, and finally bounded to the West by Big Creek Lake.
Semmes is on the central Gulf Coast and has a subtropical climate, which consists of warm, wet winters and very hot, very humid summers. Semmes is also vulnerable to hurricanes, which the area frequently experiences.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Semmes AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Technical Program Semmes AL
Choosing the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program 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 Semmes AL.