How to Select a Welding Certification Course near Whitesburg Kentucky
Choosing the ideal welder trade school near Whitesburg KY is an important first step to launching your new occupation 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welder vocational 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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 brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Whitesburg KY.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Whitesburg KY employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Tech Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Whitesburg KY area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard 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 has, such as 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 recognized accrediting agency, like 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 can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Whitesburg KY for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help 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. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Whitesburg KY welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Whitesburg KY employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Whitesburg KY welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Whitesburg KY home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Whitesburg KY, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select 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 circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Whitesburg KY?
Perhaps you live in the Whitesburg Kentucky 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.
Whitesburg is a home rule-class city in and the county seat of Letcher County, Kentucky, United States. The population was 2,139 at the 2010 census. It was named for C. White, a state politician.
Whitesburg is home to Appalshop, a multi-disciplinary arts and education center founded in 1969 which produces original films, video, theater, music and spoken-word recordings, radio, photography, multimedia, and books. WMMT (FM) 88.7 (Mountain Community Radio), was founded by Appalshop in 1985.
Whitesburg's major newspaper is The Mountain Eagle. Founded by Nehemiah Webb in 1907, the weekly paper has been owned by the Gish family of Letcher County since 1956. The Eagle has won numerous awards for its coverage of strip mining and its environmental effects, education, and political corruption.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Whitesburg KY area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed 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 expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Technical Program Whitesburg KY
Choosing the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different 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 faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Whitesburg KY.
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