How to Enroll In a Welding Certification Program near Waterville Maine
Selecting the right welding trade school near Waterville ME is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to get 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 available 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 short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Waterville ME.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Waterville ME employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Technical School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Waterville ME area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Waterville ME for schools that are not accredited. Finally, 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. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Waterville ME welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Waterville ME contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Waterville ME welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Waterville ME home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. 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 Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Waterville ME, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask 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 Waterville ME?
Perhaps you live in the Waterville 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.
Waterville is a city in Kennebec County of the U.S. state of Maine, United States, on the west bank of the Kennebec River. Home to Colby College and Thomas College, the population was 16,406 at the 2016 census. Waterville is also the latter of the cities which make up the Augusta-Waterville, ME Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Waterville has a Mayor and council-manager form of government, led by a mayor and a seven-member city council. The city council is the governing board, and the city manager is the chief administrative officer of the City, responsible for the management of all City affairs. The city is also home to Fox affiliate WPFO and Daystar rebroadcaster WFYW-LP both serving the Portland market and to several radio stations including Colby's WMHB, country WEBB, adult standards WTVL and MPBN on 91.3 FM. The film Wet Hot American Summer is set in Waterville.
The area now known as Waterville was once inhabited by the Canibas tribe of Abenaki (Indigenous People). Called Taconnet after Chief Taconnet, the main village was located on the east bank of the Kennebec River at its confluence with the Sebasticook River at what is now Winslow. Known as Ticonic by English settlers, it was burned in 1692 during King William's War, after which the Canibas tribe abandoned the area. Fort Halifax was built by General John Winslow in 1754, and the last skirmish with Indigenous peoples occurred on May 18, 1757.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Waterville ME area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start 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. Naturally 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Technical Program Waterville ME
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Waterville ME.