How to Choose a Welding Certificate Program near Sulligent Alabama
Locating the right welding school near Sulligent AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational 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 cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered near Sulligent AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by Sulligent AL area technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder in Sulligent AL.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Sulligent AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety 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
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Sulligent AL employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important 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 need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship near Sulligent AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Decide on a Welding Trade Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Sulligent AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Sulligent AL welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various Sulligent 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 establish relationships within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, 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 program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Sulligent AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Sulligent AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Sulligent AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sulligent AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Being a Welder in Sulligent AL
Sulligent is a city in Lamar County, Alabama, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 1,927, down from its record high of 2,151 in 2000. From 1910-1950 and again in 2000, it was the largest community in Lamar County before losing the distinction both times to the county seat of Vernon. The name is derived from railroad personnel.
Sulligent was first called "Elliott", in honor of the chief engineer of the Kansas City-Memphis-Birmingham Railroad, then renamed one month later with the portmanteau “Sulligent”, in honor of Sullivan, the superintendent of the railroad, and Sargeant, the passenger agent of the railroad.
The production and processing of cotton was an important industry. The primary business in Sulligent in the mid-1890s was cotton, with over 2500 bales ginned each year and shipped via the railroad. At one time, Sulligent Cotton Oil Company was known as the largest cotton gin under one roof.
Sulligent is the birthplace of two former Auburn University All-SEC performers: defensive back James Mckinney and cousin running back Joe Cribbs. McKinney, a two-time All-SEC first-team safety, led the SEC in interceptions twice and became Auburn's first African American football player to be named first-team All-SEC. Cribbs, also a two-time All-SEC performer, was a first-team All-American and was voted SEC Player of the Year, NFL running back All-Pro and NFL Rookie of the Year. Sulligent was also home to former University of Alabama All-SEC and All-American safety, Arizona Cardinals' Rashad Johnson. Sulligent is also the home of current University of North Alabama safety, Caleb Massey, former Major League Baseball player Bubba Harris, former Negro League baseball player Sam Bankhead and Hollis Bankhead (1842–1920), Confederate war hero, Congressman, and statesman.
Choose the Right Welding Trade School Sulligent AL
Choosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide 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 certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Sulligent AL.