How to Select the Best Welding Degree Program near Montgomery Alabama
Finding the right welder trade school near Montgomery AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options available to receive 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Montgomery AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Montgomery AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Montgomery AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Montgomery AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon 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 relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Montgomery AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Montgomery AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Montgomery AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Montgomery AL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Montgomery AL, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Montgomery AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree 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. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Welding Colleges Montgomery AL
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly 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 Welding Colleges and wanted more information on the topic Aluminum Welding School. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Montgomery AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
Montgomery is the capital city of the U.S. state of Alabama and the county seat of Montgomery County. Named for Richard Montgomery, it stands beside the Alabama River, on the coastal Plain of the Gulf of Mexico. In the 2010 Census, Montgomery's population was 205,764. It is the second most populous city in Alabama, after Birmingham, and is the 118th most populous in the United States. The Montgomery Metropolitan Statistical Area's population in 2010 was estimated at 374,536; it is the fourth largest in the state and 136th among United States metropolitan areas.
The city was incorporated in 1819 as a merger of two towns situated along the Alabama River. It became the state capital in 1846, representing the shift of power to the south-central area of Alabama with the growth of cotton as a commodity crop of the Black Belt and the rise of Mobile as a mercantile port on the Gulf Coast. In February 1861, Montgomery was chosen the first capital of the Confederate States of America, which it remained until the Confederate seat of government moved to Richmond, Virginia, in May of that year. In the middle of the 20th century, Montgomery was a major center of events and protests in the Civil Rights Movement, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Selma to Montgomery marches.
In addition to housing many Alabama government agencies, Montgomery has a large military presence, due to Maxwell Air Force Base; public universities Alabama State University, Troy University (Montgomery campus), and Auburn University at Montgomery; two private post-secondary institutions, Faulkner University and Huntingdon College; high-tech manufacturing, including Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama; and many cultural attractions, such as the Alabama Shakespeare Festival and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.