How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Coffeeville Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder trade school near Coffeeville AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welding vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Coffeeville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget 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 pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Coffeeville AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as 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 attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Vocational Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Coffeeville AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Coffeeville AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must 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 Coffeeville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Coffeeville AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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 Coffeeville AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Coffeeville AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many 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 convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Coffeeville AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Coffeeville AL?
Perhaps you live in the Coffeeville 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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 360 people, 165 households, and 97 families residing in the town. The population density was 79.7 people per square mile (30.8/km2). There were 209 housing units at an average density of 46.3 per square mile (17.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 61.11% White and 38.89% Black or African American.
There were 165 households out of which 22.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.2% were non-families. 40.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 21.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the town, the population was spread out with 23.9% under the age of 18, 6.9% from 18 to 24, 23.1% from 25 to 44, 25.3% from 45 to 64, and 20.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.3 males.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Coffeeville AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important 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 need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Coffeeville AL
Picking the ideal welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Coffeeville AL.