How to Pick the Right Welder Training Program near Prattville Alabama
Choosing the ideal welding vocational school near Prattville AL is an essential first step to launching your new career 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 alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students start 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 cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
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Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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 explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Prattville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Prattville AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Prattville AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Prattville AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Prattville AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Prattville AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Prattville AL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Prattville AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving 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 an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the instructors and find out 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 reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prattville AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Prattville AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start 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. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Where to Find Part Time Welding Colleges Prattville AL
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where to Find Part Time Welding Colleges and wanted more information on the topic Free Info on Accelerated Welding Colleges. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose 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 Prattville AL.
Other Alabama Welder Locations
Prattville is a city in Autauga and Elmore counties in the State of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 33,960. Nicknamed "The Fountain City" due to the many artesian wells in the area, Prattville is part of the Montgomery metropolitan statistical area and serves as the county seat of Autauga County.
Prattville was founded in 1839 by industrialist and architect Daniel Pratt. The area was largely inhabited by Native Americans and a few settlers when Pratt, a native of Temple, New Hampshire, first observed the Autauga Creek in the 1830s. He purchased approximately 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) from Joseph May at $21.00 an acre, and set out to build his manufacturing facilities and the town along the banks of Autauga Creek. The location was chosen because the creek could supply power to the cotton gin manufacturing equipment. The town became an industrial center and rapidly grew. In 1868, it was named the county seat for Autauga County.
On February 17, 2008, Prattville was hit by an F3 tornado which destroyed more than 45 homes and businesses and damaged over 700. Twenty-nine people were injured with no fatalities. Preliminary estimates put the damage at $85 million in insured and uninsured damages.