How to Choose a Welder Degree Program near Troy Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Troy AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop 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 Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Troy AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick 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.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Troy AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Troy AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example 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 securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Troy AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Troy 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 crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Troy AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Troy AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you select must be within driving distance of your Troy AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from 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. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Troy AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Troy AL?
Perhaps you live in the Troy 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.
Between the years of 1763 and 1783, the area where Troy sits was part of the colony of British West Florida. After 1783 the region fell under the jurisdiction of the newly created United States of America.
As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,033. The 2016 estimated population was 19,191. The City of Troy is considered one of the fastest growing cities in Alabama. Troy is a college town and is home to Troy University, the third-largest university in total enrollment in the state of Alabama.
For many centuries, the area in and around Troy was settled by different tribes of Native Americans, but became primarily known for its Muskogee Creek presence. Most Creek tribes lived along rivers or streams at that time. Near the Troy area, many Native Americans settled around the Conecuh River and the Pea River.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Troy AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation 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. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Vocational Program Troy AL
Picking the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Troy AL.