How to Pick a Welder Vocational School near Williamsport Kentucky
Finding the ideal welder technical school near Williamsport KY is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at 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 tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welding 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Williamsport KY.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some 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 choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Williamsport KY employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Trade Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Williamsport KY area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Williamsport KY for schools that are not accredited. 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 welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Williamsport KY welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Williamsport KY contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Williamsport KY welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Williamsport KY home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Williamsport KY, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Williamsport KY?
Perhaps you live in the Williamsport 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.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Williamsport KY area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Williamsport KY
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Williamsport KY.