How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Course near Sumter South Carolina
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Sumter SC is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to establish 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 Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Sumter SC.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Sumter SC employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Technical Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Sumter SC area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people look at 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 program you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder tech 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 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive 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 sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Sumter SC for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place 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 Sumter SC welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Sumter SC contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Sumter SC welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Sumter SC home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. 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 opinions. Also, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sumter SC, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Sumter SC area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Sumter SC?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Sumter South Carolina area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Sumter, South Carolina
Sumter /ˈsʌmtər/ is a city in and the county seat of Sumter County, South Carolina, United States. Known as the Sumter Metropolitan Statistical Area, the namesake county adjoins Clarendon and Lee to form the core of Sumter-Lee-Clarendon tri-county area of South Carolina, an area that includes the three counties in the east central Piedmont. The population was 39,643 at the 2000 census, and it rose to 40,524 at the 2010 census.
Incorporated as Sumterville in 1845, the city's name was shortened to Sumter in 1855. It has grown and prospered from its early beginnings as a plantation settlement. The city and county of Sumter bear the name of General Thomas Sumter, the "Fighting Gamecock" of the American Revolutionary War.
During the Civil War, the town was an important supply and railroad repair center for the Confederacy. After the war, Sumter grew and prospered, using its large railroad network to supply cotton, timber, and by the start of the 20th century, tobacco to the region.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational School Sumter SC
Picking the right 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 Courses Night School. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Sumter SC.