How to Pick the Right Welding Technical School near Westover Pennsylvania
Selecting the ideal welder school near Westover PA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welding trade 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 develop 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options to obtain 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Westover PA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Westover PA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Westover PA area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder tech 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 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Westover PA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Westover PA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Westover PA contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Westover PA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Westover PA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Westover PA, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Westover PA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use 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 better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Westover PA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Westover Pennsylvania area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Westover is located in southern Clearfield County at 40°45′4″N 78°40′20″W / 40.75111°N 78.67222°W / 40.75111; -78.67222 (40.751017, -78.672239), in the valley of Chest Creek, a north-flowing tributary of the West Branch Susquehanna River. The borough's southern border is the northern boundary of Cambria County. Pennsylvania Route 36 passes through the borough, leading north 7 miles (11 km) to Newburg and south 10 miles (16 km) to Patton.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Westover has a total area of 2.7 square miles (7.1 km2), of which 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.95%, is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 458 people, 169 households, and 123 families residing in the borough. The population density was 166.7 people per square mile (64.3/km²). There were 182 housing units at an average density of 66.3 per square mile (25.6/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 98.91% White, 0.44% Asian, and 0.66% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.31% of the population.
Select the Best Welding Vocational Program Westover PA
Picking the best welding school 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 Welding Diploma Courses. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short 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 school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Westover PA.