How to Select a Welder Certification Class near Pleasant Grove Alabama
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Pleasant Grove AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered near Pleasant Grove AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by Pleasant Grove AL area technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Pleasant Grove AL.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Pleasant Grove 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). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Pleasant Grove AL employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes 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 handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Pleasant Grove AL. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Pick a Welding Tech School
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Pleasant Grove AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Pleasant Grove AL welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various Pleasant Grove AL metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Pleasant Grove AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Pleasant Grove AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Pleasant Grove AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pleasant Grove AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Pleasant Grove AL
Pleasant Grove, Alabama
It was established in 1889, but incorporated as a city in January 1937. The incorporation came about by reason of a rather unusual circumstance. The town sits on land honeycombed by coal mines. For many years the residents had relied on water wells for their water supply. As years passed and more mining was done, Pleasant Grove found itself confronted with a problem. Residents would sometimes go to their well to draw water only to find there was none. The water had gone into the mines.
During the mid to late 30s, the Federal Government had a program for financing the building of local water systems. In exploring the possibility of securing such funds, it was revealed that in order to secure such financing a community must be legally incorporated. At this time the incorporation became a reality.
The first appointed Mayor of Pleasant Grove was W.P. Stone. The city is governed by a mayor and five council members who serve four-year terms. Elections for city officials is held during the summer of each leap year with four-year terms beginning the first Monday in October. The area known as Pleasant Grove, Alabama was first homesteaded in September 1836. Pleasant Grove is in Jefferson County. Although no one seems to know when or exactly how the town came by its name, old documents indicate that at least part of this area was called Pleasant Grove as early as 1884. Pleasant Grove was made up of four communities which included Frog Pond, Lizard Ridge, Cottage Hill, and Pleasant Grove.
The city is governed by a mayor, currently Jerry Brasseale, and five-member council. All city officials are elected to four-year terms on leap years. The council meets the first and third Monday of each month at Pleasant Grove City Hall. Council members as of the 2008 election are James Mosely, William Bullion, Terrie Hicks, Philip Houston and Paula Johnson.
Select the Right Welding Vocational School Pleasant Grove AL
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Pleasant Grove AL.