How to Pick a Welding Vocational School near Westport Washington
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Westport WA is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining welding vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Westport WA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Westport WA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. 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 certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Westport WA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Westport WA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Westport WA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Westport WA employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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 Westport WA welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Westport WA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma 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 needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Westport WA, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Westport WA?
Perhaps you live in the Westport Washington 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.
Westport is a city in Grays Harbor County, Washington, United States. The city's population was 2,099 at the 2010 census. It is located on a peninsula on the south side of the entrance to Grays Harbor from the Pacific Ocean.
The public Westport Marina is the largest marina on the outer coast of the United States's Pacific Northwest. The marina is home to a large commercial fishing fleet and several recreational charter fishing vessels. A summer-only passenger ferry, discontinued in 2008, previously connected the town to Ocean Shores, across the mouth of the harbor to the north.
Westport was officially incorporated on June 26, 1914. Names for the area in the past include Peterson's Point, Chehalis City, and Fort Chehalis. The latter name is for a U.S. Army fort established in 1860 before the town was founded, "ts-a-lis" is the Lower Chehalis word for Westport, meaning "place of sand". Early explorers pronounced the word "Chehalis" and gave this name to the river and the people living up river who later became the Chehalis people or "People of the Sands". The area was used regularly during the summer by local Native American tribes (most likely the Shoalwater Bay Tribe, comprising Willapa Chinook and Lower Chehalis people) before Thomas Barker Speake and his family arrived early in the summer of 1857. Westport is also the home to a station for the US Coast Guard. In 2015, the Ocosta School District became the first to build a publicly funded vertical tsunami shelter, located at Ocosta Elementary School.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Westport WA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most significant 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 accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Trade Program Westport WA
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Westport WA.