How to Pick the Right Welding Trade School near Westfield Pennsylvania
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Westfield PA is an important first step to starting 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 alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Westfield PA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. 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 additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually 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.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Westfield PA employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you select preps you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Tech Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Westfield PA area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain 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, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Westfield PA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various 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 assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Westfield PA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Westfield PA employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern 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. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Westfield PA welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Westfield PA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with 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. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Westfield PA, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Westfield PA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Westfield PA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Westfield Pennsylvania area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,190 people, 495 households, and 330 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,148.8 people per square mile (441.8/km²). There were 551 housing units at an average density of 531.9 per square mile (204.6/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.56% White, 1.01% African American, 0.34% Native American, 0.25% Asian, 0.25% from other races, and 0.59% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.59% of the population.
There were 495 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.7% were married couples living together, 12.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.3% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.85.
In the borough the population was spread out with 25.3% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 27.6% from 25 to 44, 20.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 89.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.2 males.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Westfield PA
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly 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 Summer Welding Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Westfield PA.