How to Enroll In a Welding Trade School near Westland Pennsylvania
Finding the right welder school near Westland PA is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Westland PA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Westland PA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type 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 specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Technical Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Westland PA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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 agency, such as 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 acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Westland PA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Westland PA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Westland PA employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Westland PA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Westland PA home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Westland PA, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Westland PA?
Perhaps you live in the Westland Pennsylvania 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.
The Westland Welkin was a British twin-engine heavy fighter from the Westland Aircraft Company, designed to fight at extremely high altitudes, in the stratosphere; the word welkin meaning "the vault of heaven" or the upper atmosphere. First conceived in 1940, the plane was built in response to the arrival of modified Junkers Ju 86P bombers flying reconnaissance missions that suggested the Luftwaffe might attempt to re-open the bombing of England from high altitude. Construction was from 1942–43. The threat never materialised; consequently, Westland produced only a small number of Welkins and few of these flew.
Westland put forward their P.14, essentially an adaptation of Westland's Whirlwind fighter layout (and a more experimental twin, the P.13) to meet Air Ministry Specification F.4 of 1940 for a high altitude fighter. The most obvious feature was the enormous high aspect ratio wing, with a span on the production aircraft of 70 feet (21 m). The compact but troublesome Rolls-Royce Peregrine engines of the Whirlwind were replaced by the more powerful two-stage Rolls Royce Merlin Mk.76/77. However, the most significant feature was a pressurised cockpit. The last item required the majority of the effort in designing what would become the Welkin. After extensive development a new cockpit was developed that was built out of heavy-gauge duraluminium bolted directly to the front of the main spar. The cockpit hood used an internal layer of thick perspex to hold the pressure, and an outer thin layer to form a smooth line. Heated air was blown between the two to keep the canopy clear of frost.
In January 1941, the Ministry of Aircraft Production authorised the building of two P.14 prototypes. The F.4/40 specification was revised into F.7/41 that year. The Welkin design was now in competition with the Vickers Type 432 with Merlin 61 engines.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Westland PA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, 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 environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Trade School Westland PA
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Westland PA.