How to Find the Right Welding Certification Classes near Lanett Alabama
Enrolling in 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 a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Lanett AL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Lanett AL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few 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 types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Lanett AL area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Lanett AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance 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 larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Lanett AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Lanett AL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep 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 opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lanett AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Lanett Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are evaluating 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 with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Lanett AL.