How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Wellsburg West Virginia
Finding the ideal welder vocational school near Wellsburg WV is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found 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 evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to develop 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 Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Wellsburg WV.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. 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 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Wellsburg WV employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Technical Program
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Wellsburg WV area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Wellsburg WV for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships 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 establish relationships within the Wellsburg WV welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who enrolled in 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 additionally that it has the network of Wellsburg WV employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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. Otherwise, ask a local Wellsburg WV welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Wellsburg WV home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wellsburg WV, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Wellsburg WV?
Perhaps you live in the Wellsburg West 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.
Wellsburg, West Virginia
Wellsburg is a city in and the county seat of Brooke County, West Virginia, United States. It is part of the Weirton-Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area. The 2010 census recorded a population of 2,805. The diverse economy includes one paper mill, a glass gift outlet, several telemarketing facilities, and a factory that does metal fabrication plus plastics molding.
In 1772, the Cox brothers, Friend, Israel, and Jonathan, made tomahawk rights claims totaling 1,200 acres (4.9 km2) in the area now including Wellsburg. In March 1788, Charles Prather purchased 481 acres (1.95 km2) from the Cox heirs for $3,000. In 1791, Prather petitioned Ohio County to incorporate the town of Charlestown, Virginia, naming it after himself. The original name continued until 1816, when it was changed to Wellsburg, to avoid confusion with Charles Town, Jefferson County. The new name was in honor of Charles Wells (1745-1815), Charles Prather’s son-in-law, builder of the first large flour warehouse in the east. Late in 1890, nearby Midway and Lazearville were annexed to Wellsburg.
Wellsburg was the home of Patrick Gass, the last surviving member of the Lewis and Clark expedition and author of a memoir of the famous journey. Here also was the home of Joseph Doddridge, author of Notes on the Settlement and Indian Wars. In 1832, the original Grimes Golden apple tree was found just east of Wellsburg. The first glass factory in Western Virginia was built at Wellsburg in 1813.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Wellsburg WV area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin 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 experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Tech Program Wellsburg WV
Choosing the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. 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 attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Wellsburg WV.