Category Archives: Maryland

Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – West Friendship MD

How to Find the Right Welding Degree Program near West Friendship Maryland

West Friendship MD welding school studentEnrolling in the right welding trade school near West Friendship MD is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop 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.

Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes

West Friendship MD welder working on pipingThere are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the West Friendship MD.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Choices

West Friendship MD welder working on poleThere are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many West Friendship MD employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with certain metal thicknesses
  • Work with various types of welds
  • Operate based on contract specifications

As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.

How to Choose a Welding Trade Program

West Friendship MD welder working on carOnce you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the West Friendship MD area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in West Friendship MD for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other 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 help students find employment and establish associations within the West Friendship MD welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of West Friendship MD employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local West Friendship MD welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your West Friendship MD home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.

Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near West Friendship MD, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Friendship MD?

Perhaps you live in the West Friendship 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.

Maryland Route 32

Maryland Route 32 (MD 32) is a state highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. The road runs 51.79 miles (83.35 km) from Interstate 97 (I-97) and MD 3 in Millersville west and north to Washington Road in Westminster. The east–west portion of MD 32 is the Patuxent Freeway, a four- to six-lane freeway between I-97 and MD 108 in Clarksville. The freeway passes through Odenton and Fort Meade, the site of Fort George G. Meade and the National Security Agency (NSA), in western Anne Arundel County and along the southern part of Columbia in Howard County. Via I-97, MD 32 connects those communities with U.S. Route 50 and US 301 in Annapolis. The state highway also intersects the four primary highways connecting Baltimore and Washington: the Baltimore–Washington Parkway, US 1, I-95, and US 29. MD 32's north–south section, Sykesville Road, connects Clarksville and Westminster by way of Sykesville and Eldersburg in southern Carroll County.

MD 32 was constructed as the original state road from West Friendship north to Westminster and from Westminster west to Taneytown in the early 1910s. The state highway was extended northwest to the Pennsylvania state line near Emmitsburg in the late 1910s. The portion of MD 32 from Glenelg to US 1 in Savage was built as MD 106 in the 1920s and early 1930s. MD 32 was extended south from West Friendship and assumed all of MD 106 in the mid-1940s. In the mid-1950s, the section of MD 32 from Westminster west to Emmitsburg was renumbered as an extension of MD 97. MD 32 would later be restored to its old route through Westminster and west toward Taneytown when MD 97, which is now MD 140 west of Westminster, was relocated in the early 1960s. MD 32 was truncated to Westminster in the late 1970s and rolled back to its present northern terminus in 2001.

Along its present course, MD 32 bypassed Sykesville and was relocated from Clarksville to Glenelg in the early 1960s. The state highway was also extended east from Savage to Fort Meade in the late 1960s. A disjoint segment of MD 32 was constructed on a new alignment from MD 175 in Odenton to MD 178 in Crownsville in the early 1970s. The Patuxent Freeway was built from Fort Meade to Columbia in the mid-1980s and from Fort Meade to Millersville in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The freeway was completed from Columbia to Clarksville in the mid-1990s and through Fort George G. Meade in 2005. Future plans call for MD 32 to be upgraded to a freeway from Clarksville to West Friendship.

Online Welder Schools

pipe welder at work in West Friendship MDWelding is truly a manual type of vocation, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater West Friendship MD area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills must 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 perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Pick the Ideal Welding Technical Program West Friendship MD

Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, 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 offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect 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 trade as a professional welder in West Friendship MD.

 

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