How to Find the Right Welder Certificate Program near Weirton West Virginia
Locating the right welder technical school near Weirton WV is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine 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 options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 prevalent welding programs offered in the Weirton WV.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually 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 states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Weirton WV employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Tech Program
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Weirton WV area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Weirton WV for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Weirton WV welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher 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 Weirton WV contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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 Weirton WV welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Weirton WV home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Weirton WV, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Weirton WV?
Perhaps you live in the Weirton 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.
Weirton, West Virginia
Weirton (pron. WEER-ton) is a city in Brooke and Hancock counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located primarily in Hancock County, the city lies in the northern portions of the state's Northern Panhandle region. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 19,746. It is a principal city within the Weirton-Steubenville Metropolitan Area, which had a population of 124,454 residents, and by extension part of the Greater Pittsburgh Area, the 20th largest combined statistical area in the United States with a 2016 estimated population of 2,635,228.
The small village called Holliday's Cove lanes — which is now most of downtown Weirton — was founded in 1793. (It eventually lost the apostrophe.) In 1909, Ernest T. Weir arrived from neighboring Pittsburgh and built a steel mill later known as Weirton Steel Corporation just north of Holliday's Cove. An unincorporated settlement called Weirton grew up around the mill that, by 1940, was said to be the largest unincorporated city in the United States. By then Hollidays Cove and two other outlying areas, Weirton Heights and Marland Heights, which as their names suggest were on hilltops or ridges surrounding the "Weir–Cove" area, had also incorporated.
Hollidays Cove Fort was a Revolutionary War fortification constructed in 1774 by soldiers from Ft. Pitt. It was located in what is now downtown Weirton, along Harmons Creek (named for Harmon Greathouse), about three miles from its mouth on the Ohio River. It was commanded by Colonel Andrew Van Swearingen (1741–1793) and later by his son-in-law, Captain Samuel Brady (1756–1795), the famous leader of Brady's Rangers. In 1779, over 28 militia were garrisoned at Hollidays Cove. Two years earlier, Colonel Van Swearingen led a dozen soldiers by longboat down the Ohio to help rescue the inhabitants of Ft. Henry in Wheeling in a siege by the British and Indian tribes in 1777. That mission was memorialized in a WPA-era mural painted on the wall of the Cove Post Office by Charles S. Chapman (1879–1962). The mural features Col. John Bilderback, who later gained infamy as the leader of the massacre of the Moravian Indians in Gnadenhutten in 1782.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Weirton WV area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless 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 better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Technical School Weirton WV
Selecting the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Weirton WV.