How to Find the Right Welder Certification Course near Russellville Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Russellville AL is an important first step to starting 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered near Russellville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Russellville AL area technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly 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 provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Russellville AL.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Russellville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Russellville AL employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, 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 done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Russellville AL. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Decide on a Welder Tech Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Russellville AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Russellville AL welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other Russellville AL metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Russellville AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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. If not, ask a local Russellville AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Russellville AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. 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 hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Russellville AL, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Russellville AL
Russellville is a city in Franklin County in the U.S. state of Alabama. At the 2010 census, the population of the city was 9,830, up from 8,971 at the 2000 census. The city is the county seat of Franklin County.
After the War of 1812, the U.S. government appropriated money to improve a route from Nashville to New Orleans. It was named Jackson's Military Road after Andrew Jackson, and it passed through what became Russellville. (Present-day Jackson Avenue and Jackson Highway, U.S. Route 43, follow portions of the original road.)
Russellville is named after Major William Russell, an early settler in the area who helped in the construction of Jackson's Military Road. The town grew at this road's intersection with the Gaines Trace.
Russellville served as the first county seat from 1818-1849 before it was removed to Frankfort (which served from 1849-1879). After the fire at the courthouse in the third county seat of Belgreen in 1890, the seat was returned to Russellville in 1891.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational School Russellville AL
Selecting the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Russellville AL.