How to Pick a Welding Technical School near Talcott West Virginia
Choosing the ideal welding trade school near Talcott WV is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to create 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
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Talcott WV.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 certificate or diploma while still furnishing 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. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Talcott WV employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Talcott WV area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Talcott WV for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist 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. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Talcott WV 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 welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Talcott WV employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Talcott WV welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Talcott WV home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers 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 working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Talcott WV, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Talcott WV?
Perhaps you live in the Talcott West Virginia 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.
Talcott, West Virginia
It lies along West Virginia Route 3 and the Greenbrier River to the east of the city of Hinton, the county seat of Summers County. Its elevation is 1,526 feet (465 m), and it is located at about 37°39′2″N 80°45′4″W / 37.65056°N 80.75111°W / 37.65056; -80.75111 (37.6506762, -80.7511921). Although it is unincorporated, it has a post office, with the ZIP code of 24981.
Talcott has gained some fame for being what many in the area consider to be the home of the John Henry legend. Henry was an African-American railroad worker in the 1800s who supposedly competed in a legendary race with a steam-powered drill bit, and won, dying in the process. Historian Louis Chappell traveled to Talcott in the 1920s and interviewed railroad workers who claimed to have worked with Henry when building the Great Bend tunnel on the C&O line through Talcott. The accounts of the surviving workers seemed to corroborate that Henry was, in fact, a real person, although the other aspects to the legend were impossible to confirm or deny based on the interviews conducted by Chappell
The Hilldale-Talcott Ruritan Club raised a statue of Henry atop Big Bend mountain in 1972 to commemorate the legend. Talcott now hosts an annual John Henry Days festival each July that features re-tellings of the famous legend, duck races, craft booths, and other festivities.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Talcott WV area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting 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 come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Trade School Talcott WV
Picking the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Talcott WV.