How to Select a Welder Training Class near Laceys Spring Alabama
Finding the right welding technical school near Laceys Spring AL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Laceys Spring AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Laceys Spring AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Tech School
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Laceys Spring AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Laceys Spring AL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place 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 assistance program. These schools should 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Laceys Spring AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Laceys Spring AL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. 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 Laceys Spring AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Laceys Spring AL home. If you do decide 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 particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Laceys Spring AL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Laceys Spring AL?
Perhaps you live in the Laceys Spring Alabama area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Lacey's Spring, Alabama
Lacey's Spring is an unincorporated community in northeastern Morgan County, Alabama, United States at the base of Brindlee Mountain. It is included in the Decatur Metropolitan Area, as well as the Huntsville-Decatur Combined Statistical Area.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Laceys Spring AL area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Tech Program Laceys Spring AL
Picking the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Laceys Spring AL.