How to Enroll In a Welder Training Program near Thomas West Virginia
Enrolling in the ideal welding vocational school near Thomas WV is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Thomas WV.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually 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 municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Thomas WV employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency 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 acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational Program
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Thomas WV area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Thomas WV for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing 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 placement program. The schools must have relationships 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Thomas WV welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Thomas WV employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Thomas WV welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Thomas WV home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Thomas WV, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Thomas WV?
Perhaps you live in the Thomas 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.
Thomas, West Virginia
Thomas was platted in 1884. Thomas was named for Thomas Beall Davis (1828-1911), brother of Senator Henry Gassaway Davis. The Davis brothers, in 1883, opened a mine near Thomas and had coal ready to ship when their railway arrived a year later. By 1892, Davis Coal and Coke was among the largest and best known coal companies in the world and employed 1,600 people. At the peak of its operations in 1915, there were nine producing mines within a mile of the company's office in Thomas.
Immigrants flocked to the area as miners, railroad laborers, or merchants. The Company employed a man named Wladyslaw Dackiewicz as an interpreter. He could speak, read, and write eight languages and his services were much in demand with the influx of immigrants.
In 1901, in less than two hours, nearly half of Thomas (83 buildings) was destroyed by a fire. The city was quickly rebuilt with fine hotels and a new opera house. The Cottrill Opera House had a saloon on the first floor which was by far the most elegant of the eight bars located on Front Street. In 1909, Front Street (also known as First Street, Main Street, and East Avenue) was laid with brick to become the first paved street in the county.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Thomas WV area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Tech Program Thomas WV
Choosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer 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 provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Thomas WV.