How to Select a Welder Trade School near Woodstown New Jersey
Selecting the right welding school near Woodstown NJ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding vocational 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Woodstown NJ.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Woodstown NJ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Trade Program
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Woodstown NJ area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Woodstown NJ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Woodstown NJ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Woodstown NJ employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three 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 comparable 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. If not, ask a local Woodstown NJ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Woodstown NJ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Woodstown NJ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Woodstown NJ?
Perhaps you live in the Woodstown New Jersey 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.
Woodstown, New Jersey
Woodstown is a borough in Salem County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 3,505, reflecting an increase of 369 (+11.8%) from the 3,136 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 18 (−0.6%) from the 3,154 counted in the 1990 Census.
Woodstown was established on July 26, 1882, from portions of Pilesgrove Township based on the results of a referendum held that same day. The borough's incorporation was confirmed on March 3, 1925. The borough was named for early settler Jackanias (or Jaconias) Wood.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.625 square miles (4.209 km2), including 1.585 square miles (4.104 km2) of land and 0.040 square miles (0.105 km2) of water (2.49%).
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Woodstown NJ area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Trade School Woodstown NJ
Choosing the right welder 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 a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Woodstown NJ.
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