How to Find the Right Welder Training Program near Startex South Carolina
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Startex SC is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welding technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Startex SC.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Startex SC employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Startex SC area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Startex SC for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction 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 help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Startex SC welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean 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 high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Startex SC employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Startex SC welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Startex SC home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient 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 programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Startex SC, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Startex SC?
Perhaps you live in the Startex 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.
Startex, South Carolina
As of the census of 2000, there were 988 people, 391 households, and 265 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 516.1 people per square mile (199.7/km²). There were 443 housing units at an average density of 231.4/sq mi (89.6/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 87.55% White, 11.54% African American, 0.40% Asian, 0.51% from other races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.13% of the population.
There were 391 households out of which 29.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.4% were married couples living together, 11.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.2% were non-families. 28.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.12.
In the CDP, the population was spread out with 25.8% under the age of 18, 6.1% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 24.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.9 males.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Startex SC area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Trade Program Startex SC
Picking the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on 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, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Startex SC.