How to Pick a Welder Technical School near New Castle Delaware
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near New Castle DE is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welder 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore 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 obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the New Castle DE.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of New Castle DE employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various 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 location and verify that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the New Castle DE area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, 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 recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in New Castle DE for schools that are not accredited. 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. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the New Castle DE 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 select has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of New Castle DE employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local New Castle DE welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your New Castle DE home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near New Castle DE, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near New Castle DE?
Perhaps you live in the New Castle Delaware 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.
New Castle County, Delaware
New Castle County is the northernmost of the three counties of the U.S. state of Delaware. As of the 2010 census, the population was 538,479, making it the most populous county in Delaware, with just under 60% of the state's population of 897,936 in the same census. The county seat is Wilmington.
New Castle County has the highest population and population density of any Delaware county, and it is the smallest county in the state by area. It has more people than the other two counties, Kent and Sussex, combined. It is also the most economically developed of the three.
New Castle County is home to two minor league sports teams: the Wilmington Blue Rocks (baseball) and the Delaware Blue Coats (basketball) which also plays in Wilmington. It also has a professional auto racing track in New Castle known as Airport Speedway, which races on Saturday nights throughout the summer.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater New Castle DE area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Trade Program New Castle DE
Picking the ideal welding 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 among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in New Castle DE.
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