How to Pick the Right Welder Training Class near Westford Massachusetts
Selecting the right welder school near Westford MA is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Westford MA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Westford MA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Westford MA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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 specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Westford MA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Westford MA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Westford MA employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. 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 Westford MA welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Westford MA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Westford MA, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Westford MA area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Westford MA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Westford Massachusetts area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Westford primarily produced granite, apples, and worsted yarn. The Abbot Worsted Company was said to be the first company in the nation to use camel hair for worsted yarns. Citizens from Westford also had some notable involvement in the Revolutionary War. Westford Minutemen were alerted by efforts of Samuel Prescott who alerted Acton, to the southeast towards Stow.
By the end of the American Civil War, as roads and transportation improved, Westford began to serve as a residential suburb for the factories of Lowell, becoming one of the earliest notable examples of suburban sprawl. Throughout the 20th century (and with the invention of the automobile), Westford progressively grew, continuing to serve as residential housing for the industries of Lowell, and later, Boston.
By the 1990s, Westford was home to offices for Red Hat, Samsung, Sonus Networks, Seagate, Iris Associates, Visual Solutions, and many other technology firms, most located along Massachusetts Route 110, parallel to I-495. It is also the North American headquarters for Puma, which holds a road race in town. The leading manufacturer of EEG electrodes, HydroDot Inc., located here in 2007.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical School Westford MA
Selecting the right welding 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 Arc Welding Lessons. However, as we have discussed 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 welder training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some 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 right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Westford MA.
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