How to Choose the Right Welder Training Program near Graham Alabama
Locating the right welding school near Graham AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Graham AL area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Graham AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Graham AL area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you decide on 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 vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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 has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm 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, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Graham AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Graham AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high 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 Graham AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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 Graham AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Graham AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma 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 should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Graham AL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Graham AL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Evening Welding Courses Graham AL
Selecting the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Evening Welding Courses and wanted more information on the topic Welding School. However, as we have discussed 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 program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Graham AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
A native of Central, South Carolina, Graham graduated from the University of South Carolina in 1977. He received his Juris Doctor degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1981. He served in the United States Air Force from 1982 to 1988 and served in the South Carolina Air National Guard then in the Air Force Reserve, attaining the rank of colonel. He worked as a lawyer in private practice before he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives in 1992, serving one term from 1993 to 1995. He then served in the United States House of Representatives, representing South Carolina's 3rd congressional district from 1995 to 2003. He was elected to four terms, receiving at least 60% of the vote each time.
In 2002, Graham ran for the U.S. Senate after eight-term Republican incumbent Strom Thurmond announced his retirement. Graham won the primary unopposed and defeated Democratic opponent Alex Sanders in the general election. Graham was re-elected to a second term in 2008, defeating Bob Conley. He won a third term in 2014, defeating Democrat Brad Hutto and Independent Thomas Ravenel.
A retired U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel, Graham is known in the Senate for his advocacy of a strong national defense, for his support of the military, and for his advocacy of strong United States leadership in world affairs. He is also known for his willingness to be bipartisan and work with Democrats on issues like campaign finance reform, global warming, a Waterboarding ban, Immigration reform, and his belief that judicial nominees should not be opposed solely on their philosophical positions. He is also a critic of the Tea Party movement, arguing for a more inclusive Republican Party.