How to Select a Welding Certification Program near West Kingston Rhode Island
Enrolling in the ideal welding vocational school near West Kingston RI is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen 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
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the West Kingston RI.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many West Kingston RI employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the West Kingston RI area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most 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 must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in West Kingston RI for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the West Kingston RI welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of West Kingston RI contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After 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. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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 West Kingston RI welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your West Kingston RI home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving 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 offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Kingston RI, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Kingston RI?
Perhaps you live in the West Kingston Rhode Island 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 Kingston, Rhode Island
West Kingston is an unincorporated village in the town of South Kingstown in the U.S. state of Rhode Island. West Kingston is the site of the Kingston Railroad Station Amtrak station. Before Rhode Island abolished county government, West Kingston was the county seat of Washington County, Rhode Island for many years, although it itself is a village and therefore hosts no local government.
Although unincorporated, West Kingston has a post office and recognized mailing address location. It shares zip code 02892 with much of western South Kingstown, a large portion of Richmond, Rhode Island to the west, and small parts of Exeter, Rhode Island to the north. However, West Kingston is not a part of the latter two towns.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Kingston RI area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Tech School West Kingston RI
Selecting the right welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Kingston RI.