How to Choose the Right Welder Certificate Program near Waterbury Connecticut
Finding the right welder vocational school near Waterbury CT is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest 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 important 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 starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Waterbury CT.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Waterbury CT employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Waterbury CT area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Waterbury CT for non-accredited schools. 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. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Waterbury CT welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Waterbury CT employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over 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 similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Waterbury CT welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Waterbury CT home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Waterbury CT, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on 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 circumstances.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Waterbury CT area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most significant 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 have to 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 knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Waterbury CT?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Waterbury Connecticut area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Waterbury (nicknamed "The Brass City") is a city in the U.S. state of Connecticut on the Naugatuck River, 33 miles southwest of Hartford and 77 miles northeast of New York City. Waterbury is the second-largest city in New Haven County, Connecticut. As of the 2010 census, Waterbury had a population of 110,366, making it the 10th largest city in the New York Metropolitan Area, 9th largest city in New England and the 5th largest city in Connecticut.
Throughout the first half of the 20th century, Waterbury had large industrial interests and was the leading center in the United States for the manufacture of brassware (including castings and finishings), as reflected in the nickname the "Brass City" and the city's motto Quid Aere Perennius? ("What Is More Lasting Than Brass?"). It was also noted for the manufacture of watches and clocks.
The city is along Interstate 84 (Yankee Expressway) and Route 8 and has a Metro-North railroad station with connections to Grand Central Terminal. Waterbury is also home to Post University and the regional campuses of the University of Connecticut, University of Bridgeport, Western Connecticut State University as well as Naugatuck Valley Community College.
Choose the Best Welding Trade School Waterbury CT
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in MIG Welding Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Waterbury CT.
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