How to Enroll In a Welder Trade School near Williamston South Carolina
Selecting the right welding technical school near Williamston SC is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welder trade 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 trade 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 talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options available 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Williamston SC.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually 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 requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Williamston SC 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 offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Williamston SC area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, 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 training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional 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, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Williamston SC for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Williamston SC welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Williamston SC contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. 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 Williamston SC welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Williamston SC home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Williamston SC, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Williamston SC?
Perhaps you live in the Williamston South Carolina 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.
Williamston, South Carolina
Williamston is located in northeastern Anderson County at 34°37′4″N 82°28′45″W / 34.61778°N 82.47917°W / 34.61778; -82.47917 (34.617699, -82.479256). The twin towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer are 2 miles (3 km) to the north. Anderson, the county seat, is 15 miles (24 km) to the southwest.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.5 km2), of which 3.6 square miles (9.4 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.01%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,791 people, 1,590 households, and 1,090 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,056.2 people per square mile (407.7/km²). There were 1,762 housing units at an average density of 490.9 per square mile (189.5/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 80.80% White, 17.67% African American, 0.08% Native American, 0.11% Asian, 0.66% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.74% of the population.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Williamston SC area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done 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 expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Tech Program Williamston SC
Selecting the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Williamston SC.