How to Select a Welder Degree Program near Lanett Alabama
Locating the ideal welder technical school near Lanett AL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Lanett AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Lanett AL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Lanett AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable 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.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older 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 Lanett AL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied 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 higher 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 Lanett AL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Lanett AL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, 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, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lanett AL, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose 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 emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lanett AL?
Perhaps you live in the Lanett 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.
Lanett is a city in Chambers County, Alabama, United States. At the 2010 census the population was 6,468, down from 7,897 in 2000. Lanett, originally called Bluffton, is located in eastern Alabama, on the Chattahoochee River, southwest of Atlanta. The city's name is derived from Lafayette Lanier and Theodore Bennett, founders of the West Point Manufacturing Company.
Lanett is located on the eastern edge of Chambers County at 32°51'48.326" North, 85°11'58.862" West (32.863424, -85.199684). Its eastern boundary is the Alabama–Georgia state line, with the town of West Point, Georgia, bordering Lanett to the east. Interstate 85 forms the southeast boundary of Lanett, with the city of Valley, Alabama, on the other side of the highway. The unincorporated community of Huguley is along Lanett's southwest border.
The Chattahoochee River forms the state line and eastern boundary of Lanett from I-85 north to the downtown area, at which point the state line turns north-northwest and becomes a land boundary between Lanett and West Point, Georgia.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Lanett AL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Trade Program Lanett AL
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Lanett AL.