How to Pick the Right Welding Certification Program near Strafford New Hampshire
Choosing the right welder vocational school near Strafford NH is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Strafford NH.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Strafford NH employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. 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 specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Strafford NH area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive 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 sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Strafford NH for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Strafford NH welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Strafford NH contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Strafford NH welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Strafford NH home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Strafford NH, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll 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 because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Strafford NH area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful 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 Strafford NH?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Strafford New Hampshire area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Strafford County, New Hampshire
Strafford County is a county in the U.S. state of New Hampshire. As of the 2010 census, the population was 123,143. Its county seat is Dover. Strafford County was one of the five original counties identified for New Hampshire in 1769. It was named after William Wentworth, 2nd Earl of Strafford in the mistaken belief that he was the ancestor of governor John Wentworth – although they were distantly related, William had no descendants. The county was organized at Dover in 1771. In 1840, the size of the original county was reduced with the creation of Belknap County. Strafford County constitutes a portion of the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as of the greater Boston-Worcester-Providence, MA-RI-NH-CT Combined Statistical Area.
Strafford County is in southeastern New Hampshire, separated from York County in the state of Maine by the Salmon Falls River. The southern part of the Salmon Falls, from Rollinsford to Dover, is a tidal river that flows into the Piscataqua River.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 384 square miles (990 km2), of which 369 square miles (960 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (3.9%) is water. It is the smallest county in New Hampshire by area.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational Program Strafford NH
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Training Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Strafford NH.
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