How to Pick a Welder Training Class near Willisburg Kentucky
Finding the ideal welding school near Willisburg KY is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options to get 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 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. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Willisburg KY.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 furnishes 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 states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, 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.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Willisburg KY employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. 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 specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Programs
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Willisburg KY area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds 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, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Willisburg KY for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place 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 placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Willisburg KY welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Willisburg KY employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Willisburg KY welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Willisburg KY home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Willisburg KY, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Willisburg KY?
Perhaps you live in the Willisburg Kentucky 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.
Willisburg was founded in 1838, and was named for Captain Henry Willis, a Revolutionary War veteran. The city expanded in the 1870s as a crossroads community at the intersection of two turnpikes. Willisburg incorporated in 1965.
Willisburg is located at 37°48′36″N 85°7′19″W / 37.81000°N 85.12194°W / 37.81000; -85.12194 (37.810137, -85.121919). The city is concentrated along Kentucky Route 433 (Main Street), mostly in the vicinity of its intersection with Kentucky Route 53, west of Harrodsburg and northeast of Springfield. Willisburg Lake, an impoundment of Lick Creek built by the city in the late 1960s, lies just to the northwest.
As of the census of 2000, there were 304 people, 109 households, and 68 families residing in the city. The population density was 570.4 people per square mile (221.5/km²). There were 119 housing units at an average density of 223.3 per square mile (86.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.76% White, 5.92% African American, and 1.32% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.33% of the population.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Willisburg KY area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Vocational School Willisburg KY
Selecting the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Willisburg KY.