How to Pick a Welding Training Program near Lillian Alabama
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Lillian 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 determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered near Lillian AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by Lillian AL area trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by Alabama community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder in Lillian AL.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Lillian AL employers not only require 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 based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Lillian AL employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Lillian AL. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Pick a Welding Technical School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Lillian AL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 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 need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Lillian AL welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided 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 considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various Lillian 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 help students find employment and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Lillian AL contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Lillian AL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Lillian AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lillian AL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Lillian AL
Lillian is an unincorporated community in eastern Baldwin County, Alabama, United States. Lillian is located on U.S. Route 98 on the western shore of Perdido Bay, 9.5 miles (15.3 km) east of Elberta.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical School Lillian AL
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Lillian AL.