How to Enroll In the Best Welder Vocational School near Athens Alabama
Selecting the right welder trade 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 determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 examine 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 technical 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Athens AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working 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 extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Athens AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Trade Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Athens AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick 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 might want to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Athens AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Athens AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality 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 Athens AL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate 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 comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Athens AL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, 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, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm 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 Athens AL, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Athens AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Top Welding Schools Athens AL
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Top Welding Schools and wanted more information on the topic Local Welding Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Athens AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
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.