How to Find the Right Welding Technical School near South Portland Maine
Enrolling in the ideal welder technical school near South Portland ME is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 prudent to create 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options available to receive 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the South Portland ME area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. 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 specialized 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 provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous South Portland ME employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the South Portland ME area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in South Portland ME 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.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction 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 looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the South Portland ME 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 essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of South Portland ME employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local South Portland ME welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your South Portland ME home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree 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 needs to be in a region 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 personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near South Portland ME, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater South Portland ME area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with 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 desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Become a Certified Welder South Portland ME
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in How to Become a Certified Welder and wanted more information on the topic Learn To Weld Online. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in South Portland ME.
Find More Welding Locations in Maine
South Portland, Maine
South Portland is a city in Cumberland County, Maine, United States, and is the fourth-largest city in the state, incorporated in 1898. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 25,002. Known for its working waterfront, South Portland is situated on Portland Harbor and overlooks the skyline of Portland and the islands of Casco Bay. Due to South Portland's close proximity to air, marine, rail, and highway transportation options, the city has become a center for retail and industry in the region.
Despite the name, South Portland was never part of the city of Portland, but rather part of Cape Elizabeth. It broke off in 1895. However, both Cape Elizabeth and Portland were once part of Falmouth. Cape Elizabeth, then including what later became South Portland, broke away from Falmouth in 1765. South Portland is a principal city of the Portland – South Portland – Biddeford metropolitan area.
South Portland was first settled in 1630, and it grew to become a small residential community with many farms. The village was raided by natives in Father Rale's War (1724). In 1858, the City of Portland purchased land near the Fore River for the Forest City Cemetery. On March 15, 1895, it was incorporated as a town after it broke away from Cape Elizabeth, based on a disagreement on a future source of public drinking water. Three years later South Portland became a city, destined to receive its drinking water, like Portland, from Sebago Lake, while Cape Elizabeth used wells or other local sources.