How to Find the Right Welding Certification Course near Westminster Colorado
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Westminster CO is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students start by reviewing 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 necessary concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Westminster CO.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Westminster CO employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Westminster CO area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you select 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 a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose 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 make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Westminster CO for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help 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 refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Westminster CO welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Westminster CO contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure 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 using 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. Otherwise, ask a local Westminster CO welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Westminster CO home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. 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, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Westminster CO, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Westminster CO?
Perhaps you live in the Westminster Colorado 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.
Westminster is a Home Rule Municipality in Adams and Jefferson counties in the U.S. state of Colorado. Westminster is a northwest suburb of Denver. The Westminster Municipal Center is located 9 miles (14 km) north-northwest of the Colorado State Capitol. As of the 2010 census the population of Westminster was 106,114, and as of 2016 the estimated population was 113,875. Westminster is the seventh most populous city in Colorado and the 237th most populous city in the United States. Westminster is a part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Denver-Aurora-Boulder Combined Statistical Area. In July 2006, it was ranked as the 24th best place to live in the USA by Money magazine.
Gold discovered in the South Platte River Valley in 1858 brought national attention to the area that would become Westminster, Colorado. The promise of fortune and the Land Act of 1862 encouraged many settlers from the east to make Colorado their home instead of heading on to California. Before the settlements came, wildlife like antelope and buffalo made their homes in this area. There is also evidence of Arapaho Indians near the Crown Point (Gregory Hill) area.
After the first permanent white settler, Pleasant DeSpain, built his home in 1870 on 160 acres (near what is now West 76th Avenue and Lowell Street), the area became known as DeSpain Junction and began attracting other settlers including horse breeder Edward Bruce Bowles who was instrumental in constructing the town's train depot in 1881. In 1885, Connecticut real estate developer C. J. Harris arrived in DeSpain Junction and began buying up land. Soon the town was renamed Harris, but was also known as Darell Park.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Westminster CO area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain 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.
Find the Right Welding Tech Program Westminster CO
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Westminster CO.
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