How to Find the Right Welding Degree Program near Wilkesboro North Carolina
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Wilkesboro NC is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder technical 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Wilkesboro NC.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Wilkesboro NC employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Wilkesboro NC area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many 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 need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Wilkesboro NC for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Wilkesboro NC welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate 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 a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Wilkesboro NC contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Wilkesboro NC welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Wilkesboro NC home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the trainers and find out 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 current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wilkesboro NC, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Wilkesboro NC area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Wilkesboro NC?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Wilkesboro North Carolina area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
North Wilkesboro, North Carolina
North Wilkesboro is a town in Wilkes County, North Carolina, United States. The population was approximately 4,116 at the 2000 census and is now 4,245 as of the 2010 census. North Wilkesboro is the birthplace and original home of Lowe's Home Improvement, which continues to have a major presence in the community. The town is also known as one of the birthplaces of the sport of stock-car racing, and the North Wilkesboro Speedway was the first NASCAR-sanctioned track. Due to the town's proximity to the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains and the numerous tourist venues there, North Wilkesboro has been nicknamed the "Key to the Blue Ridge".
North Wilkesboro was founded in 1891 when the Norfolk and Southern Railroad built a railroad line into Wilkes County. The line ended on the northern bank of the Yadkin River opposite Wilkesboro, the county seat. The town of North Wilkesboro quickly developed around the railroad tracks. North Wilkesboro was the home of the Carolina Mirror Company, which for many years was the largest mirror factory in the United States. Although this is no longer the case, the town remains close to the industry through Gardner Glass Products Inc. Lowe's Foods, one of the Southeast's largest supermarket chains, was started in North Wilkesboro in 1954. Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse, the nation's second-largest chain of home-improvement stores, was started in North Wilkesboro in 1946. Like many small towns and cities in rural North Carolina, North Wilkesboro has suffered since 1990 from the closing of nearly all of its textile and furniture factories, which have moved to low-wage locations in Latin America and Asia. The factories were a major part of the town's economic base. North Wilkesboro does continue to host large corporate offices including Gardner Glass Products Inc., Window World, and ECMD.
The North Wilkesboro Speedway, located just outside the city limits, predates the founding of NASCAR; the speedway held its first race on May 18, 1947 and from there it grew in popularity. On October 16, 1949, the Speedway held the 8th and final race of the 1949 NASCAR Strictly Stock Division; when the race was over Robert "Red" Byron had become the first NASCAR-sanctioned champion. The North Wilkesboro Speedway held NASCAR races for 50 years; on September 29, 1996 Jeff Gordon would win the final race to be held at the speedway. In 1995, following the death of the long-time owner and track founder Enoch Staley, the speedway was purchased by two new owners, Bob Bahre and Bruton Smith. Soon after their purchase, both men announced that they were closing the speedway and moving its two NASCAR race dates to their new tracks in Texas and New Hampshire. The decision met with strong criticism from race fans. Since 1996 several unsuccessful attempts have been made to purchase and reopen the speedway to racing.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Wilkesboro NC
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in How To Become A Certified Welder. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. 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 type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Wilkesboro NC.