How to Select the Best Welder Training Program near South Thomaston Maine
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near South Thomaston ME is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 several options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the South Thomaston ME area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous South Thomaston ME employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the South Thomaston ME area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. 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 training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in South Thomaston ME for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the South Thomaston 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 important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of South Thomaston ME contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local South Thomaston ME welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your South Thomaston ME home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near South Thomaston ME, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater South Thomaston ME area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Welding Schools South Thomaston ME
Choosing the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Schools and wanted more information on the topic TIG Welding Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in South Thomaston ME.
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South Thomaston, Maine
Abenaki Indians called it Wessaweskeag, meaning "tidal creek" or "salt creek," a reference to what is now known as the Weskeag River. Thomas Lefebvre from Quebec, Canada owned a huge tract of land at the Weskeag River, where his stay began in 1704. He built a large gristmill, with a house on the shoreline. Although he would eventually return to Quebec, the area retained his name — Thomas' Town. But the adjacent St. George River was the uneasy dividing line between land controlled by New England and New France. Permanent settlement would be delayed by the French and Indian Wars, which ended with the 1763 Treaty of Paris.
In 1767, Wessaweskeag was settled by Elisha Snow, who built a sawmill operated by tidal power. In 1773, Joseph Coombs arrived and built another sawmill nearby, and together they built a gristmill. The village of South Thomaston grew around the mills, which would include three granite polishing machines to process stone cut from the town's numerous quarries. On July 28, 1848, South Thomaston was set off from Thomaston and incorporated as a separate town.Owl's Head would be set off from South Thomaston on July 9, 1921.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 17.97 square miles (46.54 km2), of which, 11.44 square miles (29.63 km2) of it is land and 6.53 square miles (16.91 km2) is water. South Thomaston is located on the Weskeag River inlet.