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Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – West Mclean VA

How to Pick a Welding Certification Class near West Mclean Virginia

West Mclean VA welding school studentChoosing the right welding technical school near West Mclean VA is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs

West Mclean VA welder working on pipingThere are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the West Mclean VA.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.

Welding Certification Choices

West Mclean VA welder working on poleThere are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many West Mclean VA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

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

As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.

How to Choose a Welder Trade School

West Mclean VA welder working on carOnce 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 welding vocational and trade schools in the West Mclean VA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in West Mclean VA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the West Mclean VA welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of West Mclean VA contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Mclean VA welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.

School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your West Mclean VA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.

Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near West Mclean VA, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Mclean VA?

Perhaps you live in the West Mclean Virginia 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.

McLean, Virginia

McLean (/məˈkleɪn/ mə-KLAYN)[4] is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Fairfax County in Northern Virginia. McLean is home to many diplomats, businessmen, members of Congress, and high-ranking government officials partially due to its proximity to Washington, D.C. and the Central Intelligence Agency. It is the location of Hickory Hill, the former home of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Robert F. Kennedy. It is also the location of Salona, the former home of Light-Horse Harry Lee, the Revolutionary War hero. The community had an estimated total population of 53,673 in 2015, according to estimates prepared by the United States Census Bureau.[5] It is located between the Potomac River and the town of Vienna. McLean is known for its luxury homes and its nearby high-end shopping destinations: the Tysons Corner Center and the Tysons Galleria. The two McLean zip codes - 22101 and 22102 - are among the most expensive ZIP Codes in Virginia and the United States.[6] In 2018, data from the American Community Survey revealed that McLean was the 3rd wealthiest city in the United States, based on its poverty rate of 2.6% and its median household income of $190,258.[7]

The community received its name from John Roll McLean, the former publisher and owner of The Washington Post. Along with Stephen Benton Elkins and French aristocrat Jean-Pierre Guenard, in 1902 he bought the charter for the Great Falls and Old Dominion Railroad. Completed in 1906, it connected the area with Washington, D.C. McLean named a railroad station costing $1,500, of which $500 was raised locally, after himself where the rail line (traveling on the present route of Old Dominion Drive) crossed the old Chain Bridge Road.[8] The community itself was founded in 1910, when the communities of Lewinsville and Langley merged.

McLean is located at 38°56′03″N 77°10′39″W / 38.93417°N 77.17750°W / 38.93417; -77.17750 (38.9342776, -77.1774801) at an elevation of 285 feet (87 m).[3][9] Located on the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495) in Northern Virginia, central McLean is 8 miles (13 km) northwest of downtown Washington, D.C. and 9 miles (14 km) northeast of Fairfax, the county seat.[10]

Online Welder Schools

pipe welder at work in West Mclean VAWelding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater West Mclean VA area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Choose the Right Welding Tech School West Mclean VA

Selecting the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in West Mclean VA.

 

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