How to Choose a Welder Training Class near Killen Alabama
Finding the right welder school near Killen AL is an essential 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welding 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available near Killen AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by Killen AL area technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 offers 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 make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder in Killen AL.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Killen AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Killen AL employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few 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 initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless 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 Killen AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Killen AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Killen AL welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place 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 placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various Killen 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the regional 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 crucial that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Killen AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Killen AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Killen AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Killen AL, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Killen AL
Killen is a town in Lauderdale County, Alabama, United States. It is part of the Florence - Muscle Shoals Metropolitan Statistical Area known as "The Shoals". It was incorporated in 1957. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town is 1,108, down from its record high of 1,119 in 2000.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,119 people, 435 households, and 338 families residing in the town. The population density was 585.0 people per square mile (226.2/km²). There were 484 housing units at an average density of 253.0 per square mile (97.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 95.26% White, 2.23% Black or African American, 0.45% Asian, 1.61% from other races, and 0.45% from two or more races. 2.59% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 435 households, 35.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 66.9% were married couples living together, 7.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 22.1% were non-families. 18.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57, and the average family size was 2.94.
In the town, the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 23.2% from 45 to 64, and 12.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 91.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.9 males.
Pick the Right Welding Technical Program Killen AL
Choosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Killen AL.