How to Select a Welding Trade School near Blountsville Alabama
Selecting the right welding technical school near Blountsville AL is an essential first step to launching 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered near Blountsville AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by Blountsville AL area trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder in Blountsville AL.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Blountsville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Blountsville AL employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Blountsville AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Blountsville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Blountsville AL welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other Blountsville AL metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger 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 instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Blountsville AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Blountsville AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance 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 welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Blountsville AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession 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 go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Blountsville AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Being a Welder in Blountsville AL
Blount County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature on February 6, 1818, from land ceded to the federal government by the Creek Nation on August 9, 1814. It was named for Gov. Willie G. Blount of Tennessee, who provided assistance to settlers in Alabama during the Creek War of 1813-14. It lies in the northeastern section of the state, generally known as the mineral region.
What became Blountsville appears on an 1819 map as the mixed Creek/Cherokee Native American village of "Wassausey" (meaning Bear Meat Cabin, the name of an Indian translator who lived there). The town was established by Caleb Fryley and Johnny Jones in 1816 as Bear Meat Cabin. The post office was opened as Blountsville on October 20, 1825, and incorporated on December 13, 1827. It was the county seat until 1889 when the government was moved to Oneonta.
There were many schools in the town in the early years: The Academy, Blount College and the District Agricultural School, plus the public schools. The Blount County Courthouse and jail was built in 1833 and remained there until it was moved to Oneonta. A major crossroads in early Alabama, Blountsville became a Confederate depot for the cavalry. Confederate forces led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union forces led by General Abel Streight skirmished briefly in the town on May 1, 1863, and Major General Lovell H. Rousseau and his Union cavalry occupied the town in July 1864. Blount College was in the building that was originally the courthouse. It was established in 1890. The beautiful Blountsville United Methodist Church was established in 1818 and is the oldest building in Blountsville and is still in use today. Another old building in Blountsville was once known as the Barclift House. Built in 1834 as Hendricks Tavern, it is now owned and is being restored by the Ortiz family.
The Freeman House, built circa 1825, was damaged by a storm, and the two-story brick dwelling was rebuilt, using the same bricks, into a one story. The porches face the historic Meat Cabin Road, and the other porch faces U.S. Highway 231. The structure has been renovated by the Blountsville Historical Society and now serves as a museum and visitors' center. Several other buildings of the period have been added to the park and are furnished with period furnishings. The park is open to the public for tours.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade School Blountsville AL
Picking the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Blountsville AL.