How to Select a Welder Degree Program near Windsor Locks Connecticut
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Windsor Locks CT is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns 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 initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several alternatives available to get 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Windsor Locks CT.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Windsor Locks CT employers not only expect 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 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Vocational Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Windsor Locks CT area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many 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 should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Windsor Locks CT for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement 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 larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Windsor Locks CT welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Windsor Locks CT employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed 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 unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Windsor Locks CT welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Windsor Locks CT home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Windsor Locks CT, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Windsor Locks CT?
Perhaps you live in the Windsor Locks Connecticut 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.
Windsor Locks, Connecticut
Windsor Locks is a town in Hartford County, Connecticut, United States. As of the 2010 census, its population was 12,498. It is the site of Bradley International Airport, which serves the Greater Hartford-Springfield region and occupies approximately 1/3 of the town. Windsor Locks is also the site of the New England Air Museum.
Located beside the Connecticut River and equidistant from the densely populated cities of Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut, Windsor Locks is named for a set of canal locks that opened in 1829. Windsor Locks is situated just south of the first large falls in the Connecticut River, the Enfield Falls, which is the northernmost point that seagoing vessels can reach on the Connecticut River before transferring to smaller ships. The Enfield Falls Canal circumvents the Enfield Falls and its nearby shallows.
Originally part of Windsor, Windsor Locks broke off into its own settlement in 1854 after the thriving Enfield Locks going around Enfield Falls which opened in 1829. The Bradley International Airport opened as a military base in 1940, and opened to civilian use in 1947. In 1967 the town boundary was somewhat altered due to the opening of the Bradley Connector. The town boundary between Windsor Locks and Windsor changed several times and was altered with Windsor Locks being on the westbound side and the Windsor side on the eastbound side with the border on the median.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Windsor Locks CT area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Tech Program Windsor Locks CT
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Windsor Locks CT.
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