How to Pick a Welding Degree Program near Moulton Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding technical school near Moulton AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation 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 narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when evaluating welder technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Courses
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Moulton AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. 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 specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Moulton AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Moulton AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to 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 below are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Moulton AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 develop relationships within the Moulton AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Moulton AL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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. Otherwise, ask a local Moulton AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Moulton AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Moulton AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Moulton AL?
Perhaps you live in the Moulton 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.
Moulton is a city in Lawrence County, Alabama, United States and is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. Although it incorporated in 1819, along with its rival of Courtland, to compete for the honor of county seat, it did not first appear on the U.S. Census rolls until 1900. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 3,471, its record high. The city has been the county seat of Lawrence County since 1820. It has been the largest community in the county since the 1920 U.S. Census.
By the time Alabama became a state in 1819, an inn had been erected at the site of what is now Moulton to serve migrants along the various early paths that passed through the area. Shortly after Alabama achieved statehood, both Moulton and Courtland (to the north) incorporated and competed for the county seat of Lawrence County. Governor Thomas Bibb awarded the seat to Moulton as the most centrally located of the two within the county. The city is named for Lieutenant Michael Moulton, a soldier killed while fighting under General Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in 1814.
Moulton is located at 34°28′56″N 87°17′8″W / 34.48222°N 87.28556°W / 34.48222; -87.28556 (34.482307, -87.285621). The city is concentrated along Alabama State Route 33 southwest of Decatur. Alabama State Route 24 passes through the northern part of the city, and Alabama State Route 157 passes through its eastern section. The William B. Bankhead National Forest lies to the southwest of Moulton.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Moulton AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant 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 desire to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School Moulton AL
Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Moulton AL.