How to Enroll In a Welder Certificate Program near Westerly Rhode Island
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Westerly 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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 Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Westerly RI.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Westerly RI employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Westerly RI area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people consider 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 school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Westerly RI for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Westerly RI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Westerly RI contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed 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 uncertain 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 Westerly RI welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Westerly RI home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current 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 Westerly RI, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Westerly RI?
Perhaps you live in the Westerly 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.
Westerly, Rhode Island
Westerly is a town on the southwestern shoreline of Washington County, Rhode Island, first settled by English colonists in 1661 and incorporated as a municipality in 1669. It is a beachfront community on the south shore of the state with a population of 22,787 as of the 2010 census.
The Pawcatuck River flows on the western border of Westerly and was once renowned for its own species of Westerly salmon, three of which are on the town's official seal. The river flows from some 15 miles (24 km) inland, emptying into Little Narragansett Bay. It also serves as the boundary between Westerly and Pawcatuck, Connecticut. Three large salt ponds lie along the coast of Westerly which serve as shallow, reef-like pools whose outer walls form the long, white beaches for which the town became renowned. From west to east, these ponds are called Maschaug Pond, Winnapaug Pond, and Quonochontaug Pond.
A type of granite known as Westerly granite has long been quarried here. Westerly granite is ideal for statuary and has been used in numerous government buildings of several states along the eastern seaboard. The Westerly area was known for its granite and stone-cutting industry.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Westerly RI area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start 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. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to 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 obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Westerly RI
Picking the best welder 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 things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Westerly RI.