How to Select a Welder Certificate Program near Weston West Virginia
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Weston WV is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Weston WV.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced 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 extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Weston WV employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Technical School
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Weston WV area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, 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 provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Weston WV for schools that are not accredited. Also, 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. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Weston WV welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator 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 Weston WV contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After 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 equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Weston WV welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Weston WV home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. 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 convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Weston WV, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Weston WV?
Perhaps you live in the Weston West Virginia 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.
Weston, West Virginia
Weston is a city in Lewis County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 4,110 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Lewis County, and home to the West Virginia Museum of American Glass and the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum.
Weston is the site of the former Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, a psychiatric hospital and National Historic Landmark which has been mostly vacant since its closure in 1994 upon its replacement by the nearby William R. Sharpe Jr. Hospital. Jackson's Mill, a childhood home of Stonewall Jackson, is approximately four miles (6 km) north of Weston; it has been operated as a 4-H facility since the 1920s and is also the site of conference center operated by the West Virginia University Extension Service. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Jackson's Mill State 4-H Camp Historic District.
Weston has two national historic districts: the Weston Downtown Historic District and Weston Downtown Residential Historic District. Other buildings on the National Register of Historic Places are the Jonathan M. Bennett House and the former Weston Colored School.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Weston WV area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical School Weston WV
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Weston WV.