How to Choose a Welder Certification Program near Williamstown West Virginia
Finding the ideal welder trade school near Williamstown WV is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Courses
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Williamstown WV.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Williamstown WV employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Williamstown WV area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Williamstown WV 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 Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Williamstown WV welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Williamstown WV employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, 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 Williamstown WV welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Williamstown WV home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding 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 regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Williamstown WV, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Williamstown WV?
Perhaps you live in the Williamstown 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.
Williamstown, West Virginia
Williamstown is a city in Wood County, West Virginia, United States, along the Ohio River. It is part of the Parkersburg-Marietta-Vienna metropolitan area. The population was 2,908 at the 2010 census. The now closed Fenton Art Glass Company was located in the city.
Williamstown was named for Isaac Williams (1737–1820), who settled here in 1787. Williams had served under General Braddock (1755) as a ranger and spy and under Governor Dunmore (1774) fighting against the Shawnee. His home was on 400 acres on the Ohio River opposite the mouth of the Muskingum River, site of Marietta, Ohio, which was founded about a year after he arrived. Other local namesakes include Williams Creek and Williams District. The settlement was known as "Williamsport" to Ohio River travelers until 1822 when the present name was formalized.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,908 people, 1,254 households, and 848 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,107.2 inhabitants per square mile (813.6/km2). There were 1,352 housing units at an average density of 979.7 per square mile (378.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 97.7% White, 0.2% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.4% from other races, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.7% of the population.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Williamstown WV area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Tech Program Williamstown WV
Choosing the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Williamstown WV.