How to Enroll In the Right Welding Training Program near Westtown Pennsylvania
Selecting the ideal welding school near Westtown PA is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, 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 located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Westtown PA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Westtown PA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Westtown PA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types 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, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Westtown PA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Westtown PA 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 important that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Westtown PA employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect 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 using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Westtown PA welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Westtown PA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people 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 attend classes at night or on weekends near Westtown PA, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol 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 profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Westtown PA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Westtown PA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Westtown Pennsylvania area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Founded in 1799 by the Religious Society of Friends, Westtown’s Campus is located in Chester County, PA, 25 miles west of Philadelphia. In 1799, Westtown was around one day’s carriage ride from Philadelphia.
Westtown is a Quaker school affiliated with the Friends General Conference branch of the Religious Society of Friends. All students are required to attend Meeting for Worship together with adults in the community who voluntarily attend (boarding students are required to attend Westtown Monthly Meeting on Sundays as well). Westtown uses the traditional Quaker practice of coming to unity in making some high-level decisions.
Westtown School first opened in May 1799. It was founded by Philadelphia Quakers who raised the money to build a boarding school and purchased land a full day’s carriage ride from Philadelphia—where they could provide a “guarded education in a healthy environment" away from the secular influences of the city. For many years, Westtown was nearly self-sufficient, with the campus providing raw materials used in the construction of its buildings and food for the people who lived and worked at the school.
Find the Right Welding Tech Program Westtown PA
Selecting the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in 6 Month Welding Course. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Westtown PA.
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