Category Archives: Virginia

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

How to Choose a Welder Degree Program near Washington Virginia

Washington VA welding school studentSelecting the ideal welding trade school near Washington VA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs

Washington VA welder working on pipingThere are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Washington VA.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced 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 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 prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.

Welding Certification Alternatives

Washington VA welder working on poleThere are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Washington VA employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with certain metal thicknesses
  • Work with certain types of welds
  • Operate in compliance with contract specifications

As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.

How to Pick a Welder Tech School

Washington VA welder working on carAfter you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Washington VA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. 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 provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welding technical school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Washington VA 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.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 develop associations within the Washington VA welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in 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 school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Washington VA contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using 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. Otherwise, ask a local Washington VA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.

School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Washington VA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 subsequently will want to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few 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 credentials and certifications they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Washington VA, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Washington VA?

Perhaps you live in the Washington 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.

Washington, Virginia

Washington is a town in and the county seat of Rappahannock County, Virginia, United States.[3] The site of this town was surveyed by George Washington himself in July 1749. It was the first of what would be many American places to be named after the future first president.[4] Its population was just 135 people at the 2010 census, down from 183 in the 2000 census. It is nicknamed Little Washington to avoid confusion because of its proximity to Washington, D.C., which lies only 70 miles (110 km) to the north east.

The Town of Washington was formerly the location of a trading post utilized by frontier families and members of the resident Manahoac tribe. All of the territory in and around the current town was under the ownership of Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron. In 1748, Lord Fairfax met a 16-year-old George Washington, a distant relative of his. Being impressed by his character, Fairfax employed Washington to survey his lands west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. On July 24, 1749, the town layout as it appears today was surveyed and platted by Washington with the assistance of his chainmen John Lonem and Edward Corder as part of his service to Fairfax. The village was officially established as a Town by the Virginia General Assembly on December 14, 1795 when it gained the requisite population of 200. Records from an 1835 gazetteer state that the town contained one academy, fifty-five dwellings, four mercantile stores, two taverns, one house of worship, twenty-seven trade shops, and two large flour mills.

During the Civil War, a home on the town's Main Street served as a Confederate Hospital. In the late 19th century when rail became the main method of trade, the main east-west railway route of the time was constructed north of town through the accessible Thoroughfare Gap. Washington was relatively unaffected by the Industrial Age and thus the current town is quite similar to the one of 150 years ago. By the start of the 20th century the population reached three hundred, supporting businesses such as three garages and a barber shop. However, since then, the population had declined to less than 200.

Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs

pipe welder at work in Washington VAWelding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Washington VA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start 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. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need 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 expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Select the Ideal Welding Vocational School Washington VA

Selecting the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Washington VA.

 

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