How to Pick a Welding Training Class near Springdale South Carolina
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Springdale SC is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Springdale SC.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Springdale SC employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Springdale SC area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Springdale SC for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist 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. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Springdale SC welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber 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 Springdale SC contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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. Otherwise, ask a local Springdale SC welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Springdale SC home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Springdale SC, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Springdale SC?
Perhaps you live in the Springdale South Carolina 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.
Springdale, South Carolina
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Springdale SC area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech School Springdale SC
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to 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 training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Springdale SC.