How to Choose a Welder Certification Course near Ashford Alabama
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Ashford AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Ashford AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop 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 two years to complete and are most often 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 be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Ashford AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few 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
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Ashford AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Ashford 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 as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate 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 considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Ashford AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Ashford AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, 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. If not, ask a local Ashford AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Ashford AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ashford AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ashford AL?
Perhaps you live in the Ashford 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.
Ashford is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The town was incorporated in June 1891. For most of its history, it was a center for naval stores production, pulpwood harvesting, and cotton agriculture. The population was 2,148 at the 2010 census, up from 1,853 at the 2000 census.
Ashford is located slightly northeast of the center of Houston County at 31°11′3″N 85°14′7″W / 31.18417°N 85.23528°W / 31.18417; -85.23528 (31.184032, -85.235286).U.S. Route 84 passes through the southern part of the town, leading west 9 miles (14 km) to Dothan and southeast 24 miles (39 km) to Donalsonville, Georgia. The Chattahoochee River, which forms the Georgia state line, is 12 miles (19 km) southeast of Ashford on US 84.
Ashford's current mayor, Jonathon Grecu has tendered his resignation effective December 31, 2017. The city council consists of five members, who have 60 days to select new mayor. If the city council is unable to select one, the appointment goes to Governor for 30 days. If governor Ivey does not appoint the replacement at this time, then the special election is set by Probate Judge.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Ashford AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that want 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 careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech School Ashford AL
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Ashford AL.