How to Enroll In a Welder Technical School near West Leisenring Pennsylvania
Choosing the ideal welder school near West Leisenring PA is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by looking at 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 important concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the West Leisenring PA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about one 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 supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of West Leisenring PA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things 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
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Trade Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the West Leisenring PA area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in West Leisenring PA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the West Leisenring PA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of West Leisenring PA employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local West Leisenring PA welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your West Leisenring PA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Leisenring PA, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near West Leisenring PA?
Perhaps you live in the West Leisenring 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.
Opossum Run Branch
The Opossum Run Branch was a former railroad line constructed by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1884. It ran from New Haven, PA to West Leisenring, PA. It ran through the mining towns of Trotter, Leisenring and Monarch. The line was abandoned in the early to mid 1900's. Remnants of the line can still be found to this day, most notably in West Leisenring, where a few railroad bridges and a row of coke ovens still remain.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Leisenring PA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished 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 would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech Program West Leisenring PA
Selecting the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in West Leisenring PA.