How to Choose the Right Welding Vocational School near Blountsville Alabama
Locating the right welder trade school near Blountsville AL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
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Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Blountsville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Blountsville AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Blountsville AL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. 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 provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick 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). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Blountsville AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Blountsville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Blountsville AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Blountsville AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Blountsville AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate 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 an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Blountsville AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Blountsville AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Where to Find Accredited Welding Classes Blountsville AL
Picking the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where to Find Accredited Welding Classes and wanted more information on the topic Where to Find Weekend Welding Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Blountsville AL.
Other Alabama Welder Locations
Blount County was created by the Alabama territorial legislature on February 6, 1818, from land ceded to the federal government by the Creek Nation on August 9, 1814. It was named for Gov. Willie G. Blount of Tennessee, who provided assistance to settlers in Alabama during the Creek War of 1813-14. It lies in the northeastern section of the state, generally known as the mineral region.
What became Blountsville appears on an 1819 map as the mixed Creek/Cherokee Native American village of "Wassausey" (meaning Bear Meat Cabin, the name of an Indian translator who lived there). The town was established by Caleb Fryley and Johnny Jones in 1816 as Bear Meat Cabin. It became a popular stop for westward-bound settlers who streamed into the area at the end of the Creek War. The post office was opened as Blountsville on October 20, 1825, and incorporated on December 13, 1827. It was the county seat until 1889 when the government was moved to Oneonta.
There were many schools in the town in the early years: The Academy, Blount College and the District Agricultural School, plus the public schools. The Blount County Courthouse and jail was built in 1833 and remained there until it was moved to Oneonta. A major crossroads in early Alabama, Blountsville became a Confederate depot for the cavalry. Confederate forces led by General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union forces led by General Abel Streight skirmished briefly in the town on May 1, 1863, and Major General Lovell H. Rousseau and his Union cavalry occupied the town in July 1864. Blount College was in the building that was originally the courthouse. It was established in 1890. The beautiful Blountsville United Methodist Church was established in 1818 and is the oldest building in Blountsville and is still in use today. Another old building in Blountsville was once known as the Barclift House. Built in 1834 as Hendricks Tavern, it is now owned and is being restored by the Ortiz family.
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