How to Pick a Welder Degree Program near West Kennebunk Maine
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near West Kennebunk ME is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the West Kennebunk ME.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of West Kennebunk ME employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the West Kennebunk ME area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in West Kennebunk ME for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the West Kennebunk ME welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might 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 an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of West Kennebunk ME employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 West Kennebunk ME welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your West Kennebunk ME home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near West Kennebunk ME, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Kennebunk ME?
Perhaps you live in the West Kennebunk 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.
West Kennebunk, Maine
West Kennebunk is a census-designated place (CDP) in the town of Kennebunk in York County, Maine, United States. The population was 1,176 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As of the 2000 Census, there were 809 people, 316 households, and 223 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 233.1 people per square mile (90.0/km²). There were 332 housing units at an average density of 95.7/sq mi (36.9/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 97.90% White, 0.12% African American, 0.25% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, and 0.74% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.24% of the population.
There were 316 households out of which 37.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.9% were married couples living together, 7.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4% were non-families. 22.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 2.99.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Kennebunk ME area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done 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 want to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Ideal Welding Trade Program West Kennebunk ME
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in West Kennebunk ME.