How to Enroll In a Welding Trade School near Cottonwood Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Cottonwood AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Cottonwood AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Cottonwood AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means 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 make sure that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Technical School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Cottonwood AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Cottonwood AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Cottonwood AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Cottonwood AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern 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 evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Cottonwood AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Cottonwood AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cottonwood AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Cottonwood AL?
Perhaps you live in the Cottonwood 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.
Cottonwood is a town in Houston County, Alabama, United States. One source said the town incorporated in 1901, although the 1910 U.S. Census stated 1903. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. At the 2010 census the population was 1,289, up from 1,170 in 2000.
Cottonwood is located in southern Houston County at 31°3′13″N 85°18′9″W / 31.05361°N 85.30250°W / 31.05361; -85.30250 (31.053646, -85.302409).Alabama State Route 53 passes through the center of town, leading north 14 miles (23 km) to Dothan and southeast 7 miles (11 km) to the Florida state line. Malone, Florida, is 11 miles (18 km) southeast of Cottonwood.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,170 people, 485 households, and 323 families residing in the town. The population density was 212.9 people per square mile (82.1/km2). There were 548 housing units at an average density of 99.7 per square mile (38.5/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 69.06% White, 29.06% Black or African American, 0.68% Native American, and 1.20% from two or more races. 1.97% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Cottonwood AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Technical School Cottonwood AL
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor 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, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Cottonwood AL.