How to Enroll In the Best Welding Training Program near Lanett Alabama
Finding the right welder trade school near Lanett AL is an essential first step to launching 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 fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Lanett AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Lanett AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Lanett AL area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Lanett AL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Lanett AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Lanett AL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed 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 not sure 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 Lanett AL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Lanett AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lanett AL, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. 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 policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Lanett Welding Course for Certification
Picking the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lanett AL.