How to Select the Best Welding Certification Program near Akron Alabama
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Akron AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many 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 pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options available 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 available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Akron AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Akron AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Akron AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant 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 should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on 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 need to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Akron AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Akron AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Akron AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Akron AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Akron AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the teachers 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. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Akron AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out 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 online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Akron AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed 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 want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Welding Training Classes Akron AL
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Training Classes and wanted more information on the topic Becoming A Certified Welder. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of 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 reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Akron AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
Akron (/ˈækrɒn/) is a town in Hale County, Alabama, United States. In 1906, the owner of a large plantation, Waller Evan Wedgworth, sold part of his land to developers, and a construction boom followed. The town was incorporated in March 1918. At the 2010 census the population was 356, down from 521 at the 2000 census. Akron has one site on the National Register of Historic Places, the Greek Revival cottage known as Tanglewood.
Akron is located in northwestern Hale County at 32°52′35″N 87°44′28″W / 32.87639°N 87.74111°W / 32.87639; -87.74111 (32.876425, -87.740978), 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the Black Warrior River and 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Alabama State Route 60. Greensboro, the Hale County seat, is 17 miles (27 km) to the southeast. Eutaw is 14 miles (23 km) by road to the southwest, and Moundville is the same distance to the northeast.
Akron first appeared on the 1920 U.S. Census as an incorporated town. It was also the same name as its precinct/census division, which preceded it in reporting on the census since 1900 (See Akron Precinct below).