How to Find the Right Welding Training Class near Bay Minette Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welding vocational school near Bay Minette AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, 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 common welding programs available near Bay Minette AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by Bay Minette AL area trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of 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 prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder in Bay Minette AL.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Bay Minette AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Bay Minette AL employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Bay Minette AL. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welder Trade Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Bay Minette AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the Bay Minette AL welding technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other Bay Minette AL metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify 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 an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Bay Minette AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify 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 unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Bay Minette AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Bay Minette AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bay Minette AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Bay Minette AL
Bay Minette, Alabama
In the first days of Baldwin County, the town of McIntosh Bluff (now in Mobile County, west of Baldwin County) on the Tombigbee River was the county seat. After being transferred to the town of Blakeley in 1810, the county seat was later moved to the city of Daphne in 1868. In 1900, by an act of the legislature of Alabama, the county seat was authorized for relocation to the city of Bay Minette; however, the city of Daphne resisted relocation. The citizens of Bay Minette moved the county records from Daphne in the middle of the night on October 11–12, 1901 and delivered them to the city of Bay Minette - where the Baldwin County seat remains to this day. A mural for the new post office built in 1937 was commissioned by the WPA and painted by Hilton Leech of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to commemorate this event.
In September 2011, the town attempted to enact a program called "Operation Restore Our Community". It would have allowed those convicted of a misdemeanor to substitute imprisonment with mandatory church attendance for one year. However, this program was challenged due to violating separation of church and state, and the program's start was delayed for judicial review. It appears to have been scrapped.
Bay Minette is located near the center of Baldwin County in southern Alabama at 30°53′0″N 87°46′38″W / 30.88333°N 87.77722°W / 30.88333; -87.77722 (30.883446, -87.777183). It is sited on high ground 5 miles (8 km) east of the Mobile River/Tensaw River valley and 6 miles (10 km) west of the Florida border formed by the Perdido River. U.S. Route 31 passes through the center of the city, leading south to Spanish Fort and northeast to Atmore. Interstate 65 passes about 5 miles (8 km) north of the city, with access from exit 34 (State Route 59) and exit 37 (State Route 287).
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bay Minette has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps. 
Pick the Right Welding Tech Program Bay Minette AL
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Bay Minette AL.