How to Pick a Welding Certificate Program near Phenix City Alabama
Finding the right welder technical school near Phenix City AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Classes
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Phenix City AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget 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 have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Phenix City AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various 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, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Trade Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Phenix City AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Phenix City AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Phenix City AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Phenix City AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Phenix City AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Phenix City AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools 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, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current 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 in the evenings or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Phenix City AL?
Perhaps you live in the Phenix City 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.
Phenix City, Alabama
Phenix City lies immediately west across the Chattahoochee River from much larger Columbus, Georgia. Sometimes called Hub City, Most of Phenix City is included in the Columbus Metropolitan Statistical Area, but a section is located in Lee County, and is therefore in the Auburn, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. The entire city is part of the Columbus-Auburn-Opelika Combined Statistical Area.
Phenix City is located at 32°28′22″N 85°1′12″W / 32.47278°N 85.02000°W / 32.47278; -85.02000 (32.472822, -85.020121). It is the easternmost settlement in the state of Alabama as well as the Central Time Zone, but it and some other nearby areas unofficially observe Eastern Time, as these areas are part of the metropolitan area of the considerably larger city of Columbus, Georgia, which is in the Eastern Time Zone.
The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Phenix City has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Phenix City AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Technical School Phenix City AL
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Phenix City AL.