How to Pick the Best Welding Vocational School near Wattsville Alabama
Choosing the right welder vocational school near Wattsville AL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Wattsville AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Wattsville AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some 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 according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types 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 trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Wattsville AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected 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 mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program 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 might want to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as 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 help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Wattsville AL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 refer 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 establish associations within the Wattsville AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might mean 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 school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Wattsville AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Wattsville AL welding professional 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 issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Wattsville AL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wattsville AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Wattsville AL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Beginners Welding Course Wattsville AL
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Beginners Welding Course and wanted more information on the topic Welding Certification Programs. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Wattsville AL.
Find More Welding Locations in Alabama
Atlanta and Birmingham Air Line Railway
The Atlanta and Birmingham Air Line Railway (A&BAL) was formed when the Seaboard Air Line Railroad (SAL) purchased the capital stock of the bankrupt East and West Railroad of Alabama (E&W) on April 23, 1902. The E&W Railroad had already established a line from Cartersville, Georgia to Pell City, Alabama through the cities of Rockmart, Georgia, Cedartown, Georgia, and Piedmont, Alabama.
The SAL then merged the E&W into a new subsidiary called the Atlanta and Birmingham Air Line Railway. With this new subsidiary, a 37-mile extension was built from Coal City, Alabama (renamed to Wattsville in 1917)  to Birmingham, AL. In addition, a 43-mile connection from Howells, Georgia (located in Northwest Atlanta) was constructed to meet the former E&W at Rockmart.
Some of the sights on the line include the Pumpkinvine Creek Trestle located in Paulding County, Georgia which was built in 1901 by the E&W and is 126 feet high and 750 feet long. Because of the mountainous terrain in Alabama, 3 tunnels were constructed on this line. At the time, SAL had no tunnels anywhere on their entire system. The tunnels constructed were the Divide Tunnel (now called Bushy Mountain Tunnel) located near Braswell, Georgia, the Hardwick Tunnel located between Odenville and Wattsville, Alabama, and the Roper Tunnel located near Trussville, Alabama. The 3 tunnels totaled 2,964 ft. in length. Currently, the Hardwick and Roper tunnels are being used by the Alabama and Tennessee River Railway, a subsidiary railroad of OmniTRAX.
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