How to Pick a Welder Training Program near Talladega Alabama
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Talladega AL is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent 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
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available near Talladega AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by Talladega AL area technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Talladega AL.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Talladega AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just 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 specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Talladega AL employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Talladega AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Talladega AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Talladega AL welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various Talladega AL metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined 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 high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Talladega AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Talladega AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though 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 can relocate, the welding program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Talladega AL home. If you do choose 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 particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Talladega AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Being a Welder in Talladega AL
Talladega /ˌtæləˈdɪɡə/ is the county seat of Talladega County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 15,676. Talladega is approximately 50 miles (80 km) east of Birmingham.
The city is home to the Alabama Institute for the Deaf and Blind and the Talladega Municipal Airport, a public general aviation airport. The Talladega Superspeedway, Talladega College and the International Motorsports Hall of Fame are located nearby. The First National Bank of Talladega is the oldest bank in the State of Alabama, being founded in 1848.
The name Talladega is derived from a Muscogee (Creek) Native American word Tvlvtēke, from the Creek tvlwv, meaning "town", and vtēke, meaning "border" – indicating its location on the border between the Creeks and the Natchez. While the town's name is pronounced /ˌtæləˈdɪɡə/ by local inhabitants, the racetrack's name is pronounced /ˌtæləˈdeɪɡə/ by auto racing fans.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 24.1 square miles (62.3 km2), of which 24.0 square miles (62.1 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 0.30%, is water.
Select the Best Welding Vocational School Talladega AL
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Talladega AL.