How to Choose a Welder Technical School near Spanish Fort Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding school near Spanish Fort AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Spanish Fort AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach 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 2 years to complete and are usually 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, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Spanish Fort 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 wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Spanish Fort AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Spanish Fort AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Spanish Fort AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Spanish Fort AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Spanish Fort AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Spanish Fort AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Spanish Fort AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Spanish Fort AL?
Perhaps you live in the Spanish Fort 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.
Spanish Fort, Alabama
Spanish Fort is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States, located on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 6,798. It is a suburb of Mobile and is part of the Daphne-Fairhope-Foley micropolitan area.
In November 2012, Spanish Fort built a community center to house its administrative offices and city amenities. The center is home to the city library, administrative offices, the office of the mayor, and other city-run services. The municipal complex is roughly 30,000 square feet and cost around $5 million to build. It sits on 17-acres of prime land and features a large pond with two fountains and a pavilion. The city also hosts community outreach events along with city council and budget meetings.
Spanish Fort is located at 30°40'7.403" North, 87°55'19.844" West (30.668723, -87.922179), above the east shore of the Blakeley River where it enters Mobile Bay. U.S. Routes 90 and 98 (Battleship Parkway) lead west across the Mobile River and its distributaries 9 miles (14 km) to Mobile. Interstate 10 passes just to the south of Spanish Fort, with access from exits 35 and 38, and leads west across Mobile Bay to Mobile as well.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Spanish Fort AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Spanish Fort AL
Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Spanish Fort AL.