How to Pick a Welding Certificate Program near Trussville Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Trussville AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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 Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Trussville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Trussville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational Program
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Trussville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important 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 training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 instance 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 acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Trussville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Trussville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Trussville AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Trussville AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Trussville AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Trussville AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Trussville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Trussville 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.
Trussville is a city in Jefferson and St. Clair counties in the State of Alabama. It is a suburb of Birmingham and part of the Birmingham-Hoover Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2015 population was 21,023.
Trussville has been recognized as one of the most livable cities in the state and country. It was named one of the ten best towns in Alabama for young families, listed among the five best Birmingham suburbs, and included in Money magazine's list of 100 best places to live in America.
The first European settler to establish residence in the area was Warren Truss, who entered the area with his brothers and constructed a grist mill on the Cahaba River in 1821. Truss was a North Carolina man of English descent. Trussville remained an agricultural community until after the Civil War, when the Alabama-Chattanooga Railway was built through the city. By 1886 a blast furnace was built on what is now the site of the new Cahaba Elementary School. Trussville was listed as an incorporated community on the 1890 and 1900 U.S. Census rolls. At some point after 1900 until its reincorporation in 1947, it did not appear on census records.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Trussville AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Tech School Trussville AL
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Trussville AL.
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