How to Choose the Best Welding Vocational School near Ardmore Alabama
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Ardmore AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns 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 starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Ardmore AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Ardmore AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some 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
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Ardmore AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types 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 confirm that the program you choose 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Ardmore AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Ardmore AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Ardmore AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Ardmore AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Ardmore AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people 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 meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ardmore AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Ardmore AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Welder Training Classes Near Me Ardmore AL
Choosing the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welder Training Classes Near Me and wanted more information on the topic TIG Welding Training. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses 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 provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Ardmore AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
Ardmore is a town in Limestone County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Metro Area. It is home to the Saturn IB rocket at the Alabama Welcome Center, just south of the Tennessee border, on Interstate 65. As of the 2010 census, the population of the town is 1,194. It borders its sister city Ardmore, Tennessee.
The settlement was originally named Austin, after Alex Austin, who selected the location as a site for a station along the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The railroad company later renamed the town Ardmore, for the community of Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Ardmore, Alabama was incorporated in 1922.
Ardmore is located at 34°59′13″N 86°50′36″W / 34.98694°N 86.84333°W / 34.98694; -86.84333 (34.987052, -86.843228). It is the northernmost settlement in the state of Alabama. The town is concentrated along Alabama State Route 53, which runs south to north along Ardmore Avenue before veering east along the state line, where it runs congruent with Tennessee State Route 7 on Main Street. Interstate 65, which connects Nashville and Birmingham, passes just west of Ardmore.