How to Find the Right Welding Certificate Program near Sycamore Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Sycamore AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen 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
There are multiple alternatives available 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Sycamore AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Sycamore AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few 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 various kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means 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 make sure that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Sycamore AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two 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 example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Sycamore AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship 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 after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Sycamore 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 welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Sycamore AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Sycamore AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Sycamore AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some 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. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Sycamore AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm 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 work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Sycamore AL?
Perhaps you live in the Sycamore 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.
Timber Sycamore was a classified weapons supply and training program run by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and supported by Arab intelligence services, such as the security service in Saudi Arabia. Launched in 2012 or 2013, it supplied money, weaponry and training to rebel forces fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War. According to U.S. officials, the program has trained thousands of rebels. President Barack Obama secretly authorized the CIA to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013.
The program's existence was suspected after the U.S. Federal Business Opportunities website publicly solicited contract bids to ship tons of weaponry from Eastern Europe to Taşucu, Turkey and Aqaba, Jordan. One unintended consequence of the program has been to flood the Middle East's black market with weapons including assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades.
In July 2017, U.S. officials stated that Timber Sycamore would be phased out, with funds possibly redirected to fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or to offering rebel forces defensive capabilities.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Sycamore AL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use 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 would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Trade Program Sycamore AL
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Sycamore AL.