How to Enroll In a Welder Degree Program near Livingston Alabama
Locating the ideal welding school near Livingston AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available near Livingston AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by Livingston AL area trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Livingston AL.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Livingston AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Livingston AL employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Livingston AL. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welding Technical School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Livingston AL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. 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 following are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the Livingston AL welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types 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 instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other Livingston 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 assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the local welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Livingston AL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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 Livingston AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Livingston AL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Livingston AL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Livingston AL
Livingston is a city in Sumter County, Alabama, United States. By an act of the state legislature, it was incorporated on January 10, 1835. At the 2010 census the population was 3,485, up from 3,297 in 2000. The city is the county seat of Sumter County, and the home of the University of West Alabama. It was named in honor of Edward Livingston, of the Livingston family of New York.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 3,485 people residing in the city. 63.8% were African American, 34.4% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander and 0.6% of two more races. 0.7% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,297 people, 1,368 households, and 731 families residing in the city. The population density was 463.1 people per square mile (178.8/km²). There were 1,586 housing units at an average density of 222.8 per square mile (86.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 60.78% Black or African American, 37.82% White or Caucasian, 0.18% Asian, 0.15% Native American, 0.30% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. 1.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Of the 1,368 households, 29.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 30.0% were married couples living together, 20.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.5% were non-families. 35.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 3.14.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech School Livingston AL
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Livingston AL.