How to Pick a Welding Degree Program near Williamstown Kentucky
Enrolling in the right welder school near Williamstown KY is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Williamstown KY.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Williamstown KY employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Trade School
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Williamstown KY area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you select 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 single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Williamstown KY for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Williamstown KY welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who were 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Williamstown KY contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect 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 comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Williamstown KY welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Williamstown KY home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked 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 few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Williamstown KY, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Williamstown KY?
Perhaps you live in the Williamstown 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.
Williamstown is a home-rule-class city in Grant and Pendleton counties in the U.S. state of Kentucky. The population was 3,925 at the 2010 census, up from 3,227 as of the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Grant County.
When Grant County was formed in 1820, William Arnold offered land for the county seat. Arnold was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and settled in the area in 1795. The town built there was named after him when it incorporated in 1825.
The county grew slowly, reaching a population of just 281 by 1870. The Cincinnati Southern Railway was built through the county in 1877, and Williamstown Lake was created in 1957. Finally, Interstate 75 was built in the 1960s.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Williamstown KY area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished 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 want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Technical School Williamstown KY
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, 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 decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour 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 commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Williamstown KY.