How to Choose the Best Welding Trade School near Harvest Alabama
Locating the right welding technical school near Harvest AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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 Programs
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Harvest AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing 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 potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Harvest AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Trade Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Harvest AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Harvest AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various 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 associations within the Harvest AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Harvest AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 Harvest AL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
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 have the ability to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Harvest AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Harvest AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Harvest AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Courses For Welding Harvest AL
Picking the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Courses For Welding and wanted more information on the topic Welding Certificate. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Harvest AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
Harvest is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in the northwestern part of Madison County, Alabama, United States, and is included in the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the community is 5,281.
In the late 1800's through early 1900's, Harvest saw growth and development due to extension of the Fayetteville, TN rail yard along the existing Nashville, Chattanooga, and St. Louis (NC&StL) Railroad. In the early-mid 1900's Harvest was centered around the railroad, between Capshaw and Toney, presently known as Old Railroad Bed Rd. Many early settlers in the Harvest area were from the Fayetteville, TN. April 20, 1929, the NC&StL Railroad Company sold the property and roadbed running through Madison County to the County Highway Department with a quitclaim deed. Today, the roadbed is marked as a two-lane roadway that continues to serve as a vital link in the modern day-to-day transportation network, and carries the seemingly appropriate name “Old Railroad Bed Road”. Elder members of the Harvest community recall a significant Native American presence in the area, primarily along the railroad areas.
On April 3, 1974, during the 1974 Super Outbreak, two F5 tornadoes struck the community within 30 minutes of each other. Most of Harvest, primarily along the Old Railroad Bed area, along with nearby communities such as Tanner, was destroyed. Fifty people were killed by the tornadoes.