How to Select a Welder Degree Program near Sylacauga Alabama
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Sylacauga AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options available to receive 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 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. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered near Sylacauga AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by Sylacauga AL area technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 usually offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Sylacauga AL.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Sylacauga AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Sylacauga 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 trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. 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 done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Sylacauga AL. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Sylacauga 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 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Sylacauga AL welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out 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 Sylacauga AL metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Sylacauga AL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Sylacauga AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Sylacauga AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sylacauga AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Being a Welder in Sylacauga AL
Sylacauga is known for its fine white marble bedrock. This was discovered shortly after settlers moved into the area and has been quarried ever since. The marble industry was the first recorded industry in the Sylacauga area.
Sylacauga is the site of the first documented case of an object from outer space hitting a person. On November 30, 1954, a 4 kg (9 lb) piece of what became known as the Hodges Meteorite crashed through the roof of an Oak Grove house, bounced off a radio, and badly bruised Mrs. Ann Hodges, who was taking an afternoon nap.
The first historical account of the area comes from de Soto's chroniclers as he marched south along the east bank of the Coosa River in 1540, encountering the town of Talisi at the edges of the Mississippian-era chiefdoms of Coosa and Tuskaloosa. The inhabitants of the Coosa River Valley were later united as the Creek Indians, whose encounters with the Spanish and French had a significant influence on the history of Sylacauga. Events that occurred between these three groups were partly responsible for the settlement of the village of Chalakagay in 1748 near modern Sylacauga by refugee Shawnee Indians led by Peter Chartier, and Chalakagay was later listed in the French territorial records in 1759 as being a town inhabited by 50 Shawnee Indian warriors. Late in the summer of 1836 all of the Indians remaining in Alabama were taken west by the United States government. The name Sy-la-cau-ga is derived from the Indian words Chalaka-ge which mean "The Place of the Chalaka Tribe". The city was first incorporated in 1838 as Syllacoga and again in 1887 as Sylacauga.
Several important roads traversed the region as early as the 1830s. Numerous ferries were put across the rivers. In 1852, a plank road was built from Montgomery to Winterboro, Alabama, passing through Sylacauga. The first railroad through Sylacauga was the Anniston and Atlantic Railroad on December 1, 1886. In 1838, the first Sylacauga post office was established, with George Washington Stone, later Chief Justice Stone of Alabama, as postmaster.
Find the Right Welding Trade School Sylacauga AL
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Sylacauga AL.