How to Find the Right Welding Certification Class near Anniston Alabama
Locating the ideal welding technical school near Anniston AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Anniston AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Anniston AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Technical School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Anniston AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Anniston 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 as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship 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 various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Anniston AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Anniston AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Anniston AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Anniston AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anniston AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Anniston AL?
Perhaps you live in the Anniston 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.
Anniston is the county seat of Calhoun County in Alabama and is one of two urban centers/principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 23,106. According to 2013 Census estimates, the city had a population of 22,666.
Though the surrounding area was settled much earlier, the mineral resources in the area of Anniston were not exploited until the Civil War. The Confederate States of America then operated an iron furnace near present-day downtown Anniston, until it was finally destroyed by raiding Union cavalry in early 1865. Later, cast iron for sewer systems became the focus of Anniston's industrial output. Cast iron pipe, also called soil pipe, was popular until the advent of plastic pipe in the 1960s.
In 1872, the Woodstock Iron Company, organized by Samuel Noble and Union Gen. Daniel Tyler, rebuilt the furnace on a much larger scale, and started a planned community named Woodstock, soon renamed "Annie's Town" for Annie Scott Tyler, Daniel's daughter and wife of railroad president Alfred L. Tyler. Anniston was chartered as a town in 1873.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Anniston AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment 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 come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Technical Program Anniston AL
Choosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Anniston AL.