How to Select a Welder Training Program near Cullman Alabama
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Cullman AL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Cullman AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Cullman AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Tech School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Cullman AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Cullman 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.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 associations within the Cullman AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Cullman AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice 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 taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Cullman AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Cullman AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. 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. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cullman AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Cullman AL?
Perhaps you live in the Cullman 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.
Cullman is a city in and the county seat of Cullman County, Alabama, United States. It is located along Interstate 65, about 50 miles (80 km) north of Birmingham and about 55 miles (89 km) south of Huntsville. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 14,775, with an estimated population of 15,858 in 2018.
Before European settlement, the area that today includes Cullman was originally in the territory of the Cherokee Nation. The region was traversed by a trail known as the Black Warrior's Path, which led from the Tennessee River near the present location of Florence, Alabama, to a point on the Black Warrior River south of Cullman. This trail figured significantly in Cherokee history, and it featured prominently in the American Indian Wars prior to the establishment of the state of Alabama and the relocation of several American Indian tribes, including the Creek people westward along the Trail of Tears. During the Creek War in 1813, General Andrew Jackson of the U.S. Army dispatched a contingent of troops down the trail, one of which included the frontiersman Davy Crockett.
In the 1820s and the 1830s, two toll roads were built linking the Tennessee Valley to present-day Birmingham. In 1822, Abraham Stout was given a charter by the Alabama Legislature to open and turnpike a road beginning from Gandy's Cove in Morgan County to the ghost town of Baltimore on the Mulberry Fork near Colony. The road passed near present-day Vinemont through Cullman, Good Hope, and down the current Interstate 65 corridor to the Mulberry Fork. The road was later extended to Elyton (Birmingham) in 1827. It then became known as Stout's Road. Mace Thomas Payne Brindley was given a charter in 1833 to turnpike two roads, one running between Blount Springs to Somerville by way of his homestead in present-day Simcoe, and the second road passing west of Hanceville and east of Downtown Cullman to join Stout's Road north of the city. What later became the Brindley Turnpike became an extension of Stout's Road to Decatur. Cullman later became located between the juncture of the two roads, and they predated the corridor of U.S. Route 31.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Cullman AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use 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 would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Trade Program Cullman AL
Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Cullman AL.