How to Choose a Welding Certification Class near Albertville Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding school near Albertville AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered near Albertville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by Albertville AL area trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder in Albertville AL.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Albertville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. 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 various kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Albertville AL employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. 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 performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Albertville AL. 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 discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welder Trade School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Albertville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front 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 stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the Albertville AL welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other Albertville AL metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the local welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Albertville AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Albertville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Albertville AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Albertville AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Being a Welder in Albertville AL
The area which today includes Albertville was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians until their removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. It was, however, near the territory of the Creek nation, and several major trails which afforded communication (or military action) between the two nations crossed the area. It is believed to have been crossed by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his expeditions in 1540.
The first non-indigenous settlement in what is today Albertville began in the 1850s, and the settlement was named for Thomas A. Albert, an early settler who moved from Georgia and was a town leader until his death in 1876. The city was incorporated in 1891. A post office was established in 1910.
At about 4:10 p.m. on April 24, 1908, the city was virtually wiped out by a tornado that became commonly called "The Great Cyclone," or "The Cyclone of 1908." The storm is believed to have killed 35 people across northeastern Alabama, including 15 in Albertville. Relief was largely delivered by railroad, particularly from the nearby city of Gadsden. Trains from Gadsden transported doctors, nurses, and the Queen City Guards, the Alabama militia company based in Gadsden. The commander of the latter, future Gadsden mayor and Col. R.A. Mitchell, reported in a dispatch to Governor B.B. Comer:
In 1893, the Alabama Legislature passed an act for the erection of an agricultural college in each of the state's Congressional districts. After some competition, Albertville was awarded the school for the Seventh District. This is the school that evolved into today's Albertville High School, whose sports teams are still known as the "Aggies."
Pick the Right Welding Vocational School Albertville AL
Choosing the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect 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 final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Albertville AL.