How to Pick a Welder Technical School near Lillian Alabama
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Lillian AL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welder vocational 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Lillian AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Lillian AL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different 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, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Trade School
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Lillian AL area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard 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 pick 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). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Lillian AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other 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 help students find employment and develop relationships within the Lillian AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lillian AL employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Lillian AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Lillian AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few 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 feedback. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lillian AL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lillian AL?
Perhaps you live in the Lillian 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.
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.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Lillian AL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Best Welding Trade School Lillian AL
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform 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 options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Lillian AL.