How to Choose a Welder Degree Program near Summerdale Alabama
Selecting the right welder technical school near Summerdale AL is an important first step to starting 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 alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Summerdale AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. 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 additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Summerdale AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few 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 certain types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate 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 vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Tech Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Summerdale AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard 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 example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Summerdale AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Summerdale AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Summerdale AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three 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 trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Summerdale AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Summerdale AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder 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 getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Summerdale AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Summerdale AL?
Perhaps you live in the Summerdale 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.
Summerdale is a rural town in south-central Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. It is the site of the Naval Outlying Field Summerdale. At the 2010 census the population was 862. It is part of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Summerdale is located at 30°29'15.468" North, 87°42'4.036" West (30.487630, -87.701121).Alabama State Route 59 passes along the west side of the town, leading north 5 miles (8 km) to Robertsdale and south 6 miles (10 km) to Foley.
As of the census of 2000, there were 655 people, 255 households, and 184 families residing in the town. The population density was 125.7 people per square mile (48.5/km²). There were 282 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 90.23% White, 4.89% Black or African American, 1.07% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.92% from other races, and 2.75% from two or more races. Nearly 2.29% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Summerdale AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done 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 want to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree 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.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade School Summerdale AL
Choosing the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Summerdale AL.