How to Pick the Right Welder Technical School near Oakman Alabama
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Oakman AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 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 to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Oakman AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. 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 supplemental 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 extensive 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 be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Oakman AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Oakman AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Oakman AL for schools that are not accredited. 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 welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Oakman AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Oakman AL employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm 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 using 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 Oakman AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Oakman AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oakman AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Oakman AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across 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.
Associates Degree In Welding Oakman AL
Picking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Associates Degree In Welding and wanted more information on the topic The Best Welding School. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some 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 proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Oakman AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
Oakman is a town in Walker County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 789, down from 944 in 2000. Initially named Day (or Day's) Gap, it was renamed Oakman and incorporated in 1895.
As of the census of 2000, there were 944 people, 386 households, and 265 families residing in the town. The population density was 303.1 people per square mile (117.2/km²). There were 449 housing units at an average density of 144.1 per square mile (55.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 79.66% White, 19.60% Black or African American, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 386 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.9% were married couples living together, 16.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.02.