How to Select the Right Welding Degree Program near Washington District of Columbia
Choosing the ideal welding vocational school near Washington DC is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose 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? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, 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 common welding programs offered in the Washington DC.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Washington DC employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Washington DC area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Washington DC for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Washington DC welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Washington DC employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm 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 using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Washington DC welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Washington DC home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Washington DC, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Washington DC area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious 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 Washington DC?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Washington District of Columbia area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington or D.C., is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father. Washington is the principal city of the Washington metropolitan area, which has a population of 6,131,977. As the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, the city is an important world political capital. Washington is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million annual tourists.
The signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U.S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Congress and the District is therefore not a part of any state. The states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria. Named in honor of President George Washington, the City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land originally ceded by Virginia; in 1871, it created a single municipal government for the remaining portion of the District.
Washington had an estimated population of 693,972 as of July 2017[update], making it the 20th largest American city by population. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. The Washington metropolitan area, of which the District is the principal city, has a population of over 6 million, the sixth-largest metropolitan statistical area in the country.
Find the Ideal Welding Trade Program Washington DC
Choosing the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Aluminum Welding School. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to 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 determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Washington DC.
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