How to Select a Welder Trade School near Towson Maryland
Finding the right welding technical school near Towson MD is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, 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 Towson MD.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Towson MD employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech School
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Towson MD area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic 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, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Towson MD for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Towson MD welding community.
Completion and Job Placement 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 choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Towson MD employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate 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 comparable to what you will be using 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. If not, ask a local Towson MD welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Towson MD home. If you do choose 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 welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Towson MD, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Towson MD?
Perhaps you live in the Towson Maryland 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.
Towson (/ˈtaʊsən/) is an unincorporated community and a census-designated place in Baltimore County, Maryland. The population was 55,197 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat and the second-most populated unincorporated county seat in the United States (after Ellicott City, the seat in nearby Howard County, southwest of Baltimore).
The first inhabitants of the future Towson and central Baltimore County region were the Susquehannock people who hunted in the area. Their region included all of Baltimore County, though their primary settlement was farther northeast along the Susquehanna River.
Towson was settled in 1752 when Pennsylvania brothers, William and Thomas Towson, began farming an area of Sater's Hill, northeast of the present-day York and Joppa Roads. William's son, Ezekiel, opened the Towson Hotel to serve the increasing traffic of farmers bringing their produce and livestock to the port of Baltimore. He built the hotel at current-day Shealy Avenue and York Road, near the area's main crossroads. The village became known as "Towsontown". The property in West Towson came from two land grants: 400 acre Gott's Hope in 1719, and Gunner's Range in 1706.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Towson MD area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational School Towson MD
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Towson MD.
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