How to Pick the Best Welder Certification Classes near Lanett Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal welder vocational school near Lanett AL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest 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 reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain 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. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Lanett AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. 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 specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Lanett AL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Lanett AL area. That's why it's important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Lanett AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Lanett 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 welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lanett AL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Lanett AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Lanett AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lanett AL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Right Lanett Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick 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 Lanett AL.