How to Enroll In a Welder Trade School near Foley Alabama
Locating the ideal welding technical school near Foley 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 know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Foley AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Foley AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Vocational Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Foley AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn 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 pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Foley 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 Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Foley AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Foley AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Foley AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Foley AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Foley AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Foley AL?
Perhaps you live in the Foley 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.
Foley is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 14,618. Foley is a principal city of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Baldwin County.
Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago.As Foley was traveling to President McKinley's funeral in 1901, he met a railroad agent who told him of the area in South Baldwin County. Foley came down the following year, and he liked what he saw and bought up to between 40,000 acres (160 km2) and 50,000 acres (200 km2) of land. He then returned to Chicago and formed the Magnolia Land Company. As he began to sell off acreage, he realized the need for a better way for the people to come to Foley.
Foley used some of his own money to lay the rails so the train could come from Bay Minette. The first railroad station was built in 1905. The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the City's museum. John Foley donated parcels of land for a school and churches. These included the current Catholic Church, Saint Margaret of Scotland, the Baptist church and the Methodist church. The first train to service Foley was a wood burner called the "Pine Knot Special." It would leave Foley in the morning and make a return trip in the afternoon. As people cleared the land, they would place lighter knots in a wood box for the engineer to use as was needed. Foley was incorporated in 1915 with G. I. Weatherly serving as its first mayor.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Foley AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Trade School Foley AL
Picking the best welding 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 many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Foley AL.