How to Pick a Welder Certificate Program near Lafayette Alabama
Locating the ideal welder school near Lafayette AL is an important first step to launching 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to obtain 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Lafayette AL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Lafayette AL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Vocational School
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Lafayette AL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish 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 picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Lafayette AL 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.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 develop relationships within the Lafayette AL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Lafayette AL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Lafayette AL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Lafayette AL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lafayette AL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lafayette AL?
Perhaps you live in the Lafayette 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.
LaFayette (/ləˈfeɪ.ɛt, -ˈfaɪ-/ lə-F(A)Y-et, /ˈlʌfeɪ.ɛt/ LUF-ay-et) is the county seat of Chambers County, Alabama, United States, 47 miles (76 km) northwest of Columbus, Georgia. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 3,003.
Chambers County was formed in 1832. The newly elected county officials opted to locate the county seat as near as possible to the center of the county. Lots for the new town were auctioned in October 1833, with proceeds from the sale financing the construction of a courthouse and jail. The town was first called "Chambersville", but by the time of incorporation on January 7, 1835, the town name had been changed to "Lafayette", named after the Marquis de Lafayette; its spelling was changed to "LaFayette" due to the influence of newspaper editor Johnson J. Hooper, who created a fictional character called Captain Simon Suggs, a backwoods southerner who pronounced the town's name as "La Fait". The city's newspaper, The LaFayette Sun, was founded under the name The Alabama Standard in April 1841 and adopted its current name on August 3, 1881.
Lafayette is the birthplace of heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis. An 8-foot (2.4 m) bronze statue, executed by sculptor Casey Downing Jr. of Mobile, Alabama, was erected in Louis' honor in front of the Chambers County courthouse. It is also the hometown of Hoyt L. Sherman, one of artist Roy Lichtenstein's principal art professor/mentors at Ohio State University.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Lafayette AL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Technical Program Lafayette AL
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lafayette AL.