How to Enroll In a Welding Trade School near Autaugaville Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Autaugaville AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available near Autaugaville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by Autaugaville AL area trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working 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 offers a more well-rounded 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 make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Autaugaville AL.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Autaugaville 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). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Autaugaville AL employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin 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 accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Autaugaville AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welder Vocational School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Autaugaville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Autaugaville AL welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various Autaugaville AL metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Autaugaville AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Autaugaville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Autaugaville AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Autaugaville AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick 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 emergencies.
Being a Welder in Autaugaville AL
As of the census of 2010, there were 870 people, 350 households, and 243 families residing in the town. The population density was 114.2 people per square mile (44.1/km2). There were 412 housing units at an average density of 54.1 per square mile (20.9/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 66.8% Black or African American, 31.3% White, 0.2% Native American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 350 households of which 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.6% were married couples living together, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, 26.0% has a female householder with no husband present, and 30.6% were non-families. 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 27.9% from 25 to 44, 24.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
As of the census of 2000, there were 820 people, 316 households, and 219 families residing in the town. The population density was 106.1 people per square mile (41.0/km2). There were 384 housing units at an average density of 49.7 per square mile (19.2/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 65.98% Black or African American, 32.32% White, 0.24% Native American, 0.24% from other races, and 1.22% from two or more races. 0.98% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational School Autaugaville AL
Choosing the best welder training program will probably 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 things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the 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 Autaugaville AL.