How to Select the Best Welding Technical School near Geneva Alabama
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Geneva AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Geneva AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Geneva AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Trade Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Geneva AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Geneva AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Geneva AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Geneva AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Geneva AL welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Geneva AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might 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 provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend some 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 evaluations. Also, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Geneva AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Geneva AL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Where To Take Welding Classes Geneva AL
Selecting the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where To Take Welding Classes and wanted more information on the topic How to Choose Welder Certification Training near. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Geneva AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
Geneva is a city in and the county seat of Geneva County, Alabama, United States. It was incorporated in 1875. It is part of the Dothan, Alabama Metropolitan Statistical Area. Since 1940, it has been the largest city of Geneva County, and had a population of 4,452 as of the 2010 census.
In late December 1862, the stern-wheel steamship Bloomer was in port on the Choctawhatchee River in Geneva. She was captured by a group of Union troops from the 91st New York Volunteers led by Lieutenant James H. Stewart. The Bloomer was then taken to Pensacola, Florida.
Geneva is located south of the center of Geneva County at 31°2′17″N 85°52′36″W / 31.03806°N 85.87667°W / 31.03806; -85.87667 (31.038181, -85.876677), at the confluence of the Pea River with the Choctawhatchee River. Alabama State Route 52 passes through the city north of downtown, leading northeast 11 miles (18 km) to Hartford and northwest 12 miles (19 km) to Samson. Dothan is 34 miles (55 km) to the northeast via Route 52. Alabama State Route 27 passes through the center of Geneva, leading north 22 miles (35 km) to Enterprise and southwest 5 miles (8 km) to the Florida border.