How to Pick the Best Welder Certification Class near Athens Alabama
Choosing the right welder school near Athens AL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Athens AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Athens AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Athens AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic 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, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick 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 get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Athens AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Athens AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Athens AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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 Athens AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Athens AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should 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 possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Athens AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Athens AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Where to Find Local Welding Trade Schools Near Me Athens AL
Picking the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where to Find Local Welding Trade Schools Near Me and wanted more information on the topic Where to Find Night Welding Trade Schools Near Me. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Athens AL.
Other Alabama Welder Locations
Athens is a city in Limestone County, in the U.S. state of Alabama. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 21,897. The city is the county seat of Limestone County and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area.
Founded in 1818 by John Coffee, Robert Beaty, John D. Carroll, and John Read, Athens is one of the oldest incorporated cities in the state, having been incorporated one year prior to the state's admittance to the Union in 1819. Limestone County was also created by an act of the Alabama Territorial Legislature in 1818. The town was first called Athenson, but was incorporated as Athens after the ancient city in Greece. The town's first mayor was Samuel Tanner, and the Tanner area, south of Athens, was named on his behalf.
The Athens area was the home of William Wyatt Bibb, the first governor of Alabama, and its second governor, his brother Thomas Bibb, who succeeded him in office when he died in a fall from his horse.