How to Find the Right Welder Certification Program near West Point Pennsylvania
Selecting the ideal welder school near West Point PA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the West Point PA area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of West Point PA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the West Point PA area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in West Point PA 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 welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the West Point PA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of West Point PA contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting 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 comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local West Point PA welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your West Point PA home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify 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 West Point PA, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose 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.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Point PA area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. 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 must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire 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 make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Learn MIG Welding West Point PA
Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Learn MIG Welding and wanted more information on the topic Where to Learn to Weld. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to 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 sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in West Point PA.
Find More Welding Locations in Pennsylvania
West Point, Pennsylvania
West Point is an unincorporated community in Upper Gwynedd Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, United States. The Zacharias Creek starts here and flows west into the Skippack Creek, a tributary of the Perkiomen Creek. Merck & Co. has a facility in West Point, which is split between the Lansdale and North Wales post offices with the ZIP codes of 19446 and 19454, respectively.  It is part of the North Penn Valley region that is centered around the borough of Lansdale.
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