How to Find the Right Welder Trade School near West Enfield Maine
Enrolling in the right welder technical school near West Enfield ME is an essential first step to beginning your new career 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 right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the West Enfield ME.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. 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 supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish 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 be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many West Enfield ME employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many 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 just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the West Enfield ME area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in West Enfield ME for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the West Enfield ME welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of West Enfield ME contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. 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 West Enfield ME 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 couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your West Enfield ME home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near West Enfield ME, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Enfield ME?
Perhaps you live in the West Enfield Maine 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.
Enfield is a town in Penobscot County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,607 at the 2010 census. There is also a large seasonal population with many cottages located on Cold Stream Pond, a lake within the town.
In 1891, four armed men boarded and attempted to rob a train as it passed through Enfield, shooting at the engineer, fireman, and conductors. They also shot up the train station. They failed in their attempt to break into the mail-car, but it was a dark night and they escaped capture.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.00 square miles (85.47 km2), of which, 27.74 square miles (71.85 km2) of it is land and 5.26 square miles (13.62 km2) is water.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater West Enfield ME area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start 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 done 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 desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Tech School West Enfield ME
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in West Enfield ME.