How to Select a Welding Trade School near Whitmire South Carolina
Selecting the right welding trade school near Whitmire SC is an essential first step to launching 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 options, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of options available to get 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Whitmire SC.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Whitmire SC employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type 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 kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Technical Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Whitmire SC area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds 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 make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Whitmire SC for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Whitmire SC 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 essential that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Whitmire SC contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Whitmire SC welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Whitmire SC home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Whitmire SC, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Whitmire SC?
Perhaps you live in the Whitmire South Carolina 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.
Whitmire, South Carolina
Whitmire is a town in Newberry County, South Carolina, United States, along the Enoree River. The population was 1,441 at the 2010 census. The town was founded by George Fredrick Whitmire who came from Stuttgart Germany.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,441 people, 597 households, and 382 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,147.0 people per square mile. There were 760 housing units at an average density of 617.4 per square mile (237.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 78.51% White, 20.50% African American, 0.07% Native American, 0.07% Asian, 0.07% Pacific Islander, 0.26% from other races, and 0.53% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.53% of the population.
There were 650 households out of which 25.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.3% were married couples living together, 16.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.7% were non-families. 34.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.94.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Whitmire SC area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously 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 seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational School Whitmire SC
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Whitmire SC.