How to Pick a Welding Technical School near Centre Alabama
Choosing the right welder trade school near Centre AL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick 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 people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs available near Centre AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Centre AL area technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Centre AL.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Centre AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Centre AL employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Centre AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Centre 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 many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Centre AL welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other Centre 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Centre AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Centre AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Centre AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and find out 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 employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Centre AL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Centre AL
Centre is a city in Cherokee County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 3,489. The city is the county seat of Cherokee County and is part of the Gadsden, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Cherokee County was created on January 9, 1836, and named for the Cherokee people who once lived in the area. The famous Cherokee chief Pathkiller lived in Turkeytown near the present town of Centre. In 1836 the newly founded town of Cedar Bluff became the county seat, but in 1844 the county seat was moved to the more centrally located town of Centre. The name was chosen, and carries the British English spelling, because of this central location in the county. In 2011, Centre began allowing the sale of alcoholic beverages, and is no longer a dry city.
Centre is located slightly west of the center of Cherokee County at 34°9'33.052" North, 85°40'29.071" West (34.159181, -85.674742). The city limits extend north to the south shore of Weiss Lake on the Coosa River.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,489 people, 1,426 households, and 880 families residing in the city. The population density was 305 inhabitants per square mile (118/km2). There were 1,690 housing units at an average density of 147 per square mile (57/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 87.0% White, 9.9% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. 1.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational School Centre AL
Choosing the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Centre AL.