How to Pick a Welding Certificate Program near Jacksonville Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Jacksonville AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered near Jacksonville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by Jacksonville AL area trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach 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 finish and are most often offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Jacksonville AL.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Jacksonville AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Jacksonville AL employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and therefore not extremely 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 count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Jacksonville AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Jacksonville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Jacksonville AL welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered 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. Numerous welder degree or diploma 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 help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other Jacksonville AL metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. 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 percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, 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 school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Jacksonville AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Jacksonville AL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Jacksonville AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Jacksonville AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on 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 Jacksonville AL
Jacksonville is a city in Calhoun County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 12,548, which is a 49% increase since 2000. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area. Jacksonville State University is located here, which is a center of commerce and one of the largest employers in the area.
Jacksonville was founded in 1833 on land purchased from Creek Indian Chief "Du-Hoag" Ladiga. First called Drayton, the town was renamed to honor President Andrew Jackson in 1834. There are a couple Civil War monuments in town, including a statue of Major John Pelham in the city cemetery and a statue of a Confederate soldier in the middle of the square. Jacksonville served as the county seat for Calhoun County until the 20th century when it moved to Anniston. Jacksonville State University was founded here in 1883.
An EF3 tornado hit Jacksonville on March 19, 2018, causing extensive damage to the city and Jacksonville State University, almost $42 million in damages. The relatively low amount of casualties, specifically just four injuries, was attributed by some to the fact that the university was on spring break at the time. More than 1,000 volunteers assisted in the immediate tornado relief. Caleb Howard, then a senior at Jacksonville State University, said that "[i]t's been amazing to see the university and the community come together." Classes resumed at the university the following month. Although the university's usual site for graduation, Pete Mathews Coliseum, was damaged in the tornado along with over 20 other buildings, the first spring graduation since the tornado proceeded as scheduled on May 4 outside the football stadium. Dr. John Beeler, the university's president, said "It's a joyous event generally because you're celebrating the accomplishments of all your graduates, but it's an even more joyous event because to me it's a celebration of how far we've come in a short time in recovering from these tornadoes."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.8 square miles (25.5 km2), of which 0.008 square miles (0.02 km2), or 0.10%, is water. Jacksonville is located in a valley between Choccolocco Mountain to the east and smaller ridges to the west.
Choose the Best Welding Trade Program Jacksonville AL
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are considering includes a considerable amount 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 offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Jacksonville AL.