How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Elba Alabama
Choosing the right welding technical school near Elba AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Elba AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working 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 extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Elba AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Vocational Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Elba AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose 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 might need to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds 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 make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Elba AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. 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. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other 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 help students find employment and establish associations within the Elba AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Elba AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Elba AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Elba AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Elba AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Elba AL?
Perhaps you live in the Elba 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.
Elba is a city in Coffee County, Alabama, United States. At the time of the 2010 U.S. census, its population was 3,940. Elba is part of the Enterprise micropolitan statistical area. Elba is the official county seat of Coffee County, though there are two county courthouses, with the other one being located in the town of Enterprise.
The town which eventually became Elba originated near a ferry across the Pea River in the early 1830s. Originally called Bridgeville, a U.S. post office was established in the town by 1841. In 1851, a lottery to determine a new name for the town was held. One citizen had been reading a biography of Napoleon Bonaparte, and his suggestion of "Elba" as its name was the winner when it was drawn from a hat before any of the other suggestions. Elba became the county seat of Coffee County in 1852.
A logging railroad first reached Elba on March 20, 1892, with the first permanent rail line arriving in October 1898. The "Dorsey Trailer Company" was constructed at the end of this railroad line, and this company manufactured the highway trailers that served on railroads and highways starting with the piggyback railroad or containerized cargo boom of the second half of the 20th century. The new railroad line ended in West Elba, where the "New Town" industrial section of the town was located. The Seaboard System Railroad ceased all railroad service to Elba, including freight service, on November 27, 1984.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Elba AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly 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 larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Tech School Elba AL
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. 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 best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Elba AL.