How to Find the Right Welder Certificate Program near Yorktown Virginia
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Yorktown VA is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, 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 typical welding programs offered in the Yorktown VA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Yorktown VA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Yorktown VA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you pick 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 a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Yorktown VA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist 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 help students find employment and develop relationships within the Yorktown VA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Yorktown VA contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice 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 taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Yorktown VA welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Yorktown VA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Yorktown VA, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Yorktown VA?
Perhaps you live in the Yorktown 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.
Yorktown is a census-designated place (CDP) in York County, Virginia, United States. It is the county seat of York County, one of the eight original shires formed in colonial Virginia in 1682. Yorktown's population was 195 as of the 2010 census, while York County's population was 66,134 in the 2011 census estimate.
The town is most famous as the site of the siege and subsequent surrender of General Charles Cornwallis to General George Washington and the French Fleet during the American Revolutionary War on October 19, 1781. Although the war would last for another year, this British defeat at Yorktown effectively ended the war. Yorktown also figured prominently in the American Civil War (1861–1865), serving as a major port to supply both northern and southern towns, depending upon who held Yorktown at the time.
Today, Yorktown is one of three sites of the Historic Triangle, which also includes Jamestown and Williamsburg as important colonial-era settlements. It is the eastern terminus of the Colonial Parkway connecting these locations. Yorktown is also the eastern terminus of the TransAmerica Trail, a bicycle touring route created by the Adventure Cycling Association.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Yorktown VA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously 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 would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Technical School Yorktown VA
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Yorktown VA.