How to Pick the Right Welder Degree Program near Whitmer West Virginia
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Whitmer WV is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish 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 Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Whitmer WV area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop 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 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Whitmer WV employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding vocational school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Whitmer WV area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 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 looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Whitmer WV for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Whitmer WV welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Whitmer WV contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. 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 Whitmer WV welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Whitmer WV home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Whitmer WV, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Whitmer WV area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until 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 better suited for seasoned 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 careful and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Certified Welder Training Whitmer WV
Picking the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Certified Welder Training and wanted more information on the topic Coded Welder Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Whitmer WV.
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