How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Valley Alabama
Finding the right welder trade school near Valley AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen welding school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in Valley AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by Alabama trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Valley AL.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Valley AL employers not only expect 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 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Valley AL employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various Valley AL area community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless 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 want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Pick a Welding Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Valley AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people consider 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 considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic 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 has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for Valley AL non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other Valley AL metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the local welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Valley AL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Valley AL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Valley AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely 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.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the Valley AL area welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Valley AL, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Welding Professional?When getting ready to interview for a Welding job, it's important to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Welding candidates is "What compelled you to pick Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is trying to learn is not only the private reasons you might have for becoming a Welding Tech, but additionally what attributes and skills you possess that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions relating specifically to Welding, as well as a significant number of typical interview questions, so you must prepare several ideas about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an excellent Welding Technician and the best choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to include to wow the interviewer.
Find the Right Welding Trade School near Valley AL
Choosing the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Valley AL.
About Valley Alabama
Wadi El Hitan
Wadi Al-Hitan, (Arabic: وادي الحيتان, "Whale Valley") is a paleontological site in the Faiyum Governorate of Egypt, some 150 km southwest of Cairo. It was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2005 for its hundreds of fossils of some of the earliest forms of whale, the archaeoceti (a now extinct sub-order of whales). The site reveals evidence for the explanation of one of the greatest mysteries of the evolution of whales: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. No other place in the world yields the number, concentration and quality of such fossils, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape. This is why it was added by the UNESCO to the list of protected World Heritage sites.
The fossils found at the site may not be the oldest but their great concentration in the area and the degree of their preservation is to the extent that even some stomach contents are intact. The presence of fossils of other early animals such as sharks, crocodiles, sawfish, turtles and rays found at Wadi El-Hitan makes it possible to reconstruct the surrounding environmental and ecological conditions of the time, adding to its justification to be cited as a Heritage site.
The first fossil skeletons of whales were discovered in the winter of 1902-3. For the next 80 years they attracted relatively little interest, largely due to the difficulty of reaching the area. In the 1980s interest in the site resumed as four wheel drive vehicles became more readily available. Continuing interest coincided with the site being visited by fossil collectors, and many bones were removed, prompting calls for the site to be conserved. The remains display the typical streamlined body form of modern whales, yet retaining some of the primitive aspects of skull and tooth structure. The largest skeleton found reached up to 21 m in length, with well-developed five-fingered flippers on the forelimbs and the unexpected presence of hind legs, feet, and toes, not known previously in any archaeoceti. Their form was serpentine and they were carnivorous. A few of these skeletal remains are exposed but most are shallowly buried in sediments, slowly uncovered by erosion. Wadi El-Hitan provides evidences of millions of years of coastal marine life.
Fossils are present in high numbers and often show excellent quality of preservation. The most conspicuous fossils are the skeletons and bones of whales and sea cows, and over several hundred fossils of these have been documented. The fossils of whales vary from single bones to entire skeletons, and a number of partial skeletons are currently on display in the public part of the park. The two common whales are the large Basilosaurus, and the smaller (3 to 5 metre) Dorudon. At least two other species are known from rarer remains. The whales possess small hind limbs, that are not seen in modern whales, and a powerful skull with teeth similar to those of carnivorous land mammals. Other mammals are represented by the skeletons of three species of sirenia or sea cows. These were fully marine like the whales, and likewise show primitive features not seen in modern species and possess teeth that suggest that they grazed on seagrasses and other marine plants. Bones of the primitive elephant Moeritherium have also been recorded. Fossil reptiles are represented by fossils of crocodiles and sea turtles, and bones of sea snakes have also been recorded. There are many species of bony fish, sharks and rays represented, but most of the fossils are isolated small teeth and these are not often conspicuous. Larger fish fossils include the rostra and pegs of sawfish; a sawfish rostrum of 1.8 metres long is laid out in the park. Fossil shells are not common in the main whale-bearing rocks, but are very common in other rocks; many fallen rocks can be seen to be full of a wide variety of fossil shells. Disc-shaped nummulite fossils are common in places, and often coat the desert floor. A large log is present in the park, and this is full of tubular shipworm fossils. Some fossil seagrasses are also known.
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