How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Class near Wedowee Alabama
Finding the right welder technical school near Wedowee AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade 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 options to get 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Wedowee AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 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 supplemental 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Wedowee AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder vocational school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Tech School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Wedowee AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you choose 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 a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like 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 assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Wedowee AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Wedowee AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Wedowee AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using 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. Otherwise, ask a local Wedowee AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Wedowee AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Wedowee AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Wedowee AL?
Perhaps you live in the Wedowee 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.
Wedowee is a town in Randolph County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 823, up from 818 in 2000. The small town is the county seat of Randolph County. It was initially incorporated in 1836, but its charter lapsed by the late 19th century. It was reincorporated in 1901.
Following Indian Removal of the Creek in the 1830s to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River by the US government, this area was settled by European Americans. The town of Wedowee was designated as the county seat of Randolph County in 1835. The county was developed for the cultivation of cotton as a commodity crop, with labor primarily done by enslaved African Americans, many of whom had been sold to the Deep South from the Upper South in the domestic slave trade.
Since the late 20th century, Lake Wedowee was created by the impoundment of the Tallapoosa River. This has enhanced the tourist drawing power of the town. Also known as the R. L. Harris Reservoir, the lake draws thousands of visitors to Wedowee every year. 
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Wedowee AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed 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 would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Ideal Welding Tech Program Wedowee AL
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, 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 offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Wedowee AL.