How to Choose a Welding Trade School near Youngwood Pennsylvania
Locating the right welder trade school near Youngwood PA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many 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 cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Youngwood PA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available 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 specialized skills for working 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 diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Youngwood PA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities 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 way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Youngwood PA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important 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 should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as 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 frequently not offered in Youngwood PA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist 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 refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Youngwood PA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Youngwood PA employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Youngwood PA welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Youngwood PA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Youngwood PA, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask 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 Youngwood PA?
Perhaps you live in the Youngwood Pennsylvania 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.
The community was established in 1899 and was built on land owned by John Y. Woods, a farmer. In creating the name Youngwood, John Y. Woods took his own family name and combined it with his maternal grandfather's name, which was Young.
Youngwood owes its existence to the Southwest Branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad, which ran from Greensburg south to Uniontown and Fairchance. In 1900, a large classification yard was built for sorting railroad cars, and this railroad yard provided Youngwood's economic base for many decades.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 1.9 square miles (4.8 km²), of which, 1.8 square miles (4.8 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km²) of it (1.08%) is water.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Youngwood PA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start 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. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced 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 extremely careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Trade School Youngwood PA
Picking the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, 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 also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Youngwood PA.