How to Select a Welder Training Class near Foley Alabama
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Foley AL is an important first step to beginning 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 options, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered near Foley AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by Foley AL area trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Foley AL.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Foley AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to 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 earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Foley AL employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship near Foley AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Foley AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Foley AL welding technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction 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 considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various Foley 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 associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Foley AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Foley AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Foley AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Foley AL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Being a Welder in Foley AL
Foley is a city in Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. The 2010 census lists the population of the city as 14,618. Foley is a principal city of the Daphne–Fairhope–Foley Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Baldwin County.
Foley was named for its founder, John B. Foley of Chicago. As Foley was traveling to President McKinley's funeral in 1901, he met a railroad agent who told him of the area in South Baldwin County. Foley came down the following year, and he liked what he saw and bought up to between 40,000 acres (160 km2) and 50,000 acres (200 km2) of land. He then returned to Chicago and formed the Magnolia Land Company. As he began to sell off acreage, he realized the need for a better way for the people to come to Foley.
Foley used some of his own money to lay the rails so the train could come from Bay Minette. The first railroad station was built in 1905. The original station burned in 1908 and was replaced the following year by the station that is now the City's museum. John Foley donated parcels of land for a school and churches. These included the current Catholic Church, Saint Margret of Scotland, the Baptist church and the Methodist church. The first train to service Foley was a wood burner called the "Pine Knot Special." It would leave Foley in the morning and make a return trip in the afternoon. As people cleared the land, they would place lighter knots in a wood box for the engineer to use as was needed. Foley was incorporated in 1915 with G. I. Weatherly serving as its first mayor.
As of the census of 2010, there were 14,618 people, 6,165 households, and 4,124 families residing in the city. The population density was 530.8 people per square mile (205.1/km²). There were 7,359 housing units at an average density of 284.1 per square mile (198.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 77.1% White, 14.9% Black or African American, 0.6% Native American, 1.1% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.7% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. 9.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Choose the Right Welding Tech Program Foley AL
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Foley AL.