How to Select a Welding Certification Course near Albertville Alabama
Choosing the right welder trade school near Albertville AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many 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? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welding technical 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in Albertville AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by Alabama trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Albertville AL.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Albertville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states 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 prove to Albertville AL employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain Albertville AL area community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical 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 environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Choose a Welder Trade Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Albertville AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most 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 choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose 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 a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for Albertville AL non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job 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 Albertville AL metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 relationships within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Albertville AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Albertville AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Albertville 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 especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the Albertville AL area welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Albertville AL, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify 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, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Welder?When prepping to interview for a Welding position, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that recruiters typically ask Welder candidates is "What drove you to pick Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Welding Tech, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Welding, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to prepare several ideas about how you would like to address them. Considering there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Welding Technician and the perfiect choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Pick the Right Welding Trade School near Albertville AL
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Albertville AL.
About Albertville Alabama
Albertville is a city in Marshall County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 21,160.
The area which today includes Albertville was inhabited by the Cherokee Indians until their removal to Oklahoma in the 1830s. It was, however, near the territory of the Creek nation, and several major trails which afforded communication (or military action) between the two nations crossed the area. It is believed to have been crossed by Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto during his expeditions in 1540.
During the American Civil War, the area around Albertville was the scene of several mid-level clashes between Union and Confederate forces.
The first non-indigenous settlement in what is today Albertville began in the 1850s, and the settlement was named for Thomas A. Albert, an early settler who moved from Georgia and was a town leader until his death in 1876. The city was incorporated in 1891. A post office was established in 1910.
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