How to Find the Right Welder Certificate Program near Hartselle Alabama
Enrolling in the right welder trade school near Hartselle AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore 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 get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Hartselle AL.
- Diploma and Certificate 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, designed mainly to develop 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Hartselle AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate 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 type of work that the welder performs. Just 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 various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Hartselle AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish 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 qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Hartselle AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 help students find employment and establish associations within the Hartselle 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 essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator 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 Hartselle AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Hartselle AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Hartselle AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hartselle AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Hartselle AL?
Perhaps you live in the Hartselle 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.
Hartselle is the second largest city in Morgan County, Alabama, United States, about 10 miles (16 km) south of Decatur, and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, and the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 14,255. Hartselle was founded in 1870 with the arrival of the South and North Alabama Railroad. It takes its name from George Hartsell, one of the railroad's owners. The post office opened in 1873. It was formally incorporated on March 1, 1875. Most of the oldest buildings were destroyed by a disastrous fire in 1916.
Hartselle is located at 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028Coordinates: 34°26′25″N 86°56′25″W / 34.44028°N 86.94028°W / 34.44028; -86.94028 (34.440383, -86.940385).
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Hartselle AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously 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 seasoned 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 careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Trade School Hartselle AL
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Hartselle AL.