How to Select a Welder Certificate Program near Ozark Alabama
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Ozark AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welder vocational 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 sensible to establish 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Ozark AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Ozark AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational School
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Ozark AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn 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 pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 quality education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Ozark 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 as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Ozark AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Ozark AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Ozark AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Ozark AL home. If you do decide to enroll in 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 welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Ozark AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ozark AL?
Perhaps you live in the Ozark 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.
Ozark is the principal city of the Ozark Micropolitan Statistical Area, as well as a part of the Dothan-Enterprise-Ozark Combined Statistical Area. Fort Rucker, the primary flight training base for Army Aviation, abuts Ozark.
The first known European settler in Ozark was John Merrick, Sr., a veteran of the Revolutionary War, in 1822. In honor of him, the town was named Merricks. It was later changed to Woodshop, which was its name when the town received its post office. The first appearance of the name Ozark was in 1855, when the citizens requested a name change.
As of the census of 2000, there were 15,119 people, 6,126 households, and 4,233 families residing in the city. The population density was 441.5 inhabitants per square mile (170.5/km2). There were 6,955 housing units at an average density of 203.1 per square mile (78.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 68.28% White, 28.30% Black or African American, 0.67% Native American, 0.70% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.46% from other races, and 1.53% from two or more races. 2.08% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Ozark AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational School Ozark AL
Picking the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type 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 different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Ozark AL.