How to Choose a Welder Certification Class near Sylacauga Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding vocational school near Sylacauga AL is an essential 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 explore 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 options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Sylacauga AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Sylacauga AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Sylacauga AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many 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 considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive 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 sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Sylacauga AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, 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. A large number of welding 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 reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Sylacauga AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Sylacauga AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Sylacauga AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Sylacauga AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sylacauga AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Sylacauga AL?
Perhaps you live in the Sylacauga 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.
Sylacauga is known for its fine white marble bedrock. This was discovered shortly after settlers moved into the area and has been quarried ever since. The marble industry was the first recorded industry in the Sylacauga area.
Sylacauga is the site of the first documented case of an object from outer space hitting a person. On November 30, 1954, a 4 kg (9 lb) piece of what became known as the Hodges Meteorite crashed through the roof of an Oak Grove house, bounced off a radio, and badly bruised Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was taking an afternoon nap.
The first historical account of the area comes from de Soto's chroniclers as he marched south along the east bank of the Coosa River in 1540, encountering the town of Talisi at the edges of the Mississippian-era chiefdoms of Coosa and Tuskaloosa. The inhabitants of the Coosa River Valley were later united as the Creek Indians, whose encounters with the Spanish and French had a significant influence on the history of Sylacauga. Events that occurred between these three groups were partly responsible for the settlement of the village of Chalakagay in 1748 near modern Sylacauga by refugee Shawnee Indians led by Peter Chartier, and Chalakagay was later listed in the French territorial records in 1759 as being a town inhabited by 50 Shawnee Indian warriors. Late in the summer of 1836 all of the Indians remaining in Alabama were taken west by the United States government. The name Sy-la-cau-ga is derived from the Indian words Chalaka-ge which mean "The Place of the Chalaka Tribe". The city was first incorporated in 1838 as Syllacoga and again in 1887 as Sylacauga.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Sylacauga AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Trade Program Sylacauga AL
Choosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Sylacauga AL.