How to Choose a Welding Vocational School near Woodbridge Connecticut
Selecting the right welding trade school near Woodbridge CT is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 prevalent welding programs offered in the Woodbridge CT.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Woodbridge CT employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. 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
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Woodbridge CT area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Woodbridge CT for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Woodbridge CT welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Woodbridge CT employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained 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 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 Woodbridge CT welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Woodbridge CT home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure 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 Woodbridge CT, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Woodbridge CT?
Perhaps you live in the Woodbridge Connecticut 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.
Woodbridge is a town in New Haven County, Connecticut, United States. The population was 8,990 at the 2010 census. It is one of the wealthiest towns in Connecticut, ranking 8th in the state per the 2010 US Census in terms of per-capita income, and is home to many of the faculty of Yale University. The town center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as Woodbridge Green Historic District.
Woodbridge was originally called "Amity", having been carved out of land originally belonging to New Haven and Milford as an independent parish in 1739. In 1742, the Rev. Benjamin Woodbridge was ordained in Amity, and it is after him that the modern town was named. Woodbridge was incorporated in 1784.
In 1661, the town was the location of one of the hideouts of the "Regicides" — three of the judges who signed the death warrant for King Charles I of England. The ruins of their hideout can be found on the nearby West Rock ridge, which runs along the town's eastern border.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Woodbridge CT area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Trade Program Woodbridge CT
Picking the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Woodbridge CT.
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