How to Select a Welding Training Class near Wickliffe Kentucky
Selecting the right welding trade school near Wickliffe KY is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop 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 multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Wickliffe KY.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Wickliffe KY employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available 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
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Wickliffe KY area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Wickliffe KY for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Wickliffe KY welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Wickliffe KY employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to 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 working with in the field. If you are unsure 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 Wickliffe KY welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Wickliffe KY home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wickliffe KY, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Wickliffe KY?
Perhaps you live in the Wickliffe Kentucky 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.
The city of Wickliffe is the site of a Mississippian culture village now known only as Wickliffe Mounds. The village was occupied from around 1100-1300 AD. Today, Wickliffe Mounds is a state historic site and home to a research center and museum.
In 1780 during the Revolutionary War, General George Rogers Clark established Fort Jefferson on a hill overlooking the Mississippi River one mile south of present-day Wickliffe. The fort was intended to protect what was then the western boundary of the infant United States from raids by the British Army and Native Americans. It was abandoned in 1781 after a siege by the Chickasaw.
The site later served as a Union Army post during the Civil War. General Ulysses S. Grant directed a demonstration against the Confederate-held position at Columbus, Kentucky, in January 1862. Troops from the post joined in capturing Fort Henry in February 1862. It served as a Union supply post for operations in the western theater of the war.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Wickliffe KY area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes 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. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Tech School Wickliffe KY
Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Wickliffe KY.