How to Select a Welder Technical School near Livingston Alabama
Finding the ideal welder trade school near Livingston AL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Livingston AL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Livingston AL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Livingston AL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic 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 offers, such as 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 acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Livingston AL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Livingston 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 welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Livingston AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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 Livingston AL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Livingston AL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Livingston AL, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Livingston AL?
Perhaps you live in the Livingston 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.
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.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Livingston AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Technical Program Livingston AL
Choosing the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Livingston AL.