How to Pick a Welder Certification Course near Winnsboro South Carolina
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Winnsboro SC is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 wise to create 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 Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Winnsboro SC.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Winnsboro 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 on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Winnsboro SC area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Winnsboro SC for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Winnsboro SC welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Winnsboro SC contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained 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 uncertain 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 Winnsboro SC welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Winnsboro SC home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Winnsboro SC, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Winnsboro SC?
Perhaps you live in the Winnsboro 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.
Winnsboro, South Carolina
Winnsboro is a town in Fairfield County, South Carolina, United States. The population was 3,550 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Fairfield County. Winnsboro is part of the Columbia, South Carolina Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Based on archeological evidence, this area was occupied by various cultures of indigenous peoples from as early as the Archaic period, about 1500 BC. Blair Mound is a nearby archeological site and earthwork likely occupied 1300-1400 AD, as part of the late Mississippian culture in the region.
Several years before the Revolutionary War, Richard Winn from Virginia moved to what is now Fairfield County in the upland or Piedmont area of South Carolina. His lands included the present site of Winnsboro, and as early as 1777 the settlement was known as "Winnsborough". Two of his brothers joined him there, adding to family founders.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Winnsboro SC area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical 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 have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Tech Program Winnsboro SC
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Winnsboro SC.