How to Select the Right Welding Degree Program near Excel Alabama
Enrolling in the right welder trade school near Excel AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
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Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees 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 available in the Excel AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Excel AL employers not only require 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 available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Excel AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Excel AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some 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 placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older 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 Excel AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Excel AL employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Excel AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Excel AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Excel AL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Excel AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, 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 work with welding materials until 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. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Where to Find Online Welding Colleges Near Me Excel AL
Picking the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where to Find Online Welding Colleges Near Me and wanted more information on the topic Where to Find Part Time Welding Colleges Near Me. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides 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. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Excel AL.
Other Alabama Welder Locations
Excel is the birthplace of former University of Alabama and Dallas Cowboys linebacker Lee Roy Jordan. Excel High School (3A) provides education for children in and around the town of Excel. Businesses within the town include Dollar General, post office, a "do-it-yourself" car wash, a laundromat, hardware store, a locally-run diner and one bank.
As of the census of 2010, there were 723 people, 270 households, and 205 families residing in the town. The population density was 425.3 people per square mile (168.1/km2). There were 295 housing units at an average density of 173.5 per square mile (68.6/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 91.1% White, 5.0% Black or African American, 1.4% Native American, 0.1% some other race, and 2.4% from two or more races. 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 270 households out of which 41.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% were headed by married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.1% were non-families. 21.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.4% were someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.68, and the average family size was 3.11.