How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Class near Selma Alabama
Locating the right welding technical school near Selma AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Selma AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced 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 extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Selma AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Selma AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain 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 organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Selma AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place 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 assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Selma AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy 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 high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Selma AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Selma AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Selma AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and find out 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 present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Selma AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Selma AL?
Perhaps you live in the Selma 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.
Selma is a city in and the county seat of Dallas County, in the Black Belt region of south central Alabama and extending to the west. Located on the banks of the Alabama River, the city has a population of 20,756 as of the 2010 census.
The city is best known for the 1960s Selma Voting Rights Movement and the Selma to Montgomery marches, beginning with "Bloody Sunday" in March 1965 and ending with 25,000 people entering Montgomery at the end of the last march to press for voting rights. This activism generated national attention to social justice and that summer, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed by Congress to authorize federal oversight and enforcement of constitutional rights of all citizens.
It had been a trading center and market town during the years of King Cotton in the South. It was also an important armaments manufacturing and iron shipbuilding center during the Civil War, surrounded by miles of earthen fortifications. The Confederate forces were defeated during the Battle of Selma.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Selma AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed 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 want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Selma AL
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Selma AL.