How to Select the Best Welder Training Program near Lanett Alabama
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Lanett AL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Lanett AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Lanett AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Lanett AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Lanett AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Lanett AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Lanett AL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Lanett AL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Lanett AL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm 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 Lanett AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain 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 due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Lanett Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Lanett AL.