How to Choose a Welder Training Class near Whitman Massachusetts
Finding the ideal welder vocational school near Whitman MA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are nearest 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 considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to obtain 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Whitman MA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Whitman MA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things 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
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Whitman MA area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Whitman MA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out 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 other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Whitman MA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Whitman MA employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, 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 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Whitman MA welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance 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 welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Whitman MA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many 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 convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Whitman MA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Whitman MA?
Perhaps you live in the Whitman Massachusetts 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.
Whitman was first settled by Europeans in 1670 and was officially incorporated in 1875. Prior to becoming Whitman, it was formally the southern parish of the town of Abington. The new name, Whitman, was taken from Augustus Whitman, whose family who grew up in South Abington, and was adopted in 1886. Though before adopting the name Whitman, the small town was known as Little Comfort.
Whitman has a rich history that is deeply rooted in the shoemaking industry. Regal Shoe and Bostonian Shoe are perhaps the most notable companies. At one time there were over 20 shoe factories and related factories making metal shanks in town. There are a few abandoned factories left, and some have been turned into condominiums.
In the late 1930s, Ruth Graves Wakefield invented chocolate chip cookies in Whitman at the Toll House Inn on Bedford Street. The Toll House burned completely on New Year's Eve 1984, in a fire that originated in the kitchen. The inn was not rebuilt. The site is marked with a historical marker, and that land is now home to a Wendy's restaurant and Walgreens pharmacy, with the Toll House sign still in existence. The former Whitman Savings Bank was also the first in the country to offer savings bank life insurance (SBLI). Whitman is the home of the famous Peaceful Meadows Ice Cream, as well as the former home of Saftler's Inc., one of the oldest and largest independently owned fabric stores in the country, which closed in June 2011. In 1964 The Venus Cafe was founded by former professional wrestler Peter Drosos, who fought under the name Pete "The Golden Greek".
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Whitman MA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Trade School Whitman MA
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on 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 proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Whitman MA.
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