How to Enroll In a Welding Vocational School near Vicksburg Mississippi
Choosing the right welder technical school near Vicksburg MS is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Vicksburg MS.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach 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 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Vicksburg MS employers not only expect a certificate or degree 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 based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding tech school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Vicksburg MS area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Vicksburg MS for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 establish relationships within the Vicksburg MS welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Vicksburg MS employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Vicksburg MS welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Vicksburg MS home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, 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 Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Vicksburg MS, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Vicksburg MS?
Perhaps you live in the Vicksburg Mississippi 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.
Vicksburg is the only city in, and county seat of Warren County, Mississippi, United States. It is located 234 miles (377 km) northwest of New Orleans at the confluence of the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, and 40 miles (64 km) due west of Jackson, the state capital. It is located on the east bank of the Mississippi River across from the state of Louisiana.
The city has increased in population since 1900, when 14,834 people lived here. The population was 26,407 at the 2000 census. In 2010, it was designated as the principal city of a Micropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with a total population of 49,644. This MSA includes all of Warren County.
The area which is now Vicksburg was long occupied by the Natchez Native Americans as part of their historical territory along the Mississippi. The Natchez spoke a language isolate not related to the Muskogean languages of the other major tribes in the area. Before the Natchez, other indigenous cultures had occupied this strategic area for thousands of years.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Vicksburg MS area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice 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. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School Vicksburg MS
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Vicksburg MS.