How to Select the Right Welding Certification Course near Woodstock Virginia
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Woodstock VA is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 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 Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Woodstock VA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Woodstock VA employers not only demand a degree or certificate 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 kind of work that the welder does. Just 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 various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Woodstock VA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 significant 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 should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Woodstock VA 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.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Woodstock VA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher 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 Woodstock VA employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Woodstock VA welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Woodstock VA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Woodstock VA, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Woodstock VA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics 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 work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Woodstock VA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Woodstock Virginia area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
The town was established by charter in March 1761 as a part of what was then Frederick County. It was originally formed by a land grant from Lord Fairfax, and founded as Muellerstadt (Miller Town) in 1752 after founder Jacob Miller. The town's charter was sponsored by George Washington in Virginia's House of Burgesses. Woodstock has been the County Seat of Shenandoah County, since the County's formation in 1772.
In the late 1770s, John Muhlenberg was pastor at a Lutheran church located in the heart of Woodstock. As a famous story of Muhlenberg has it, at conclusion of his farewell sermon on January 21, 1776, Muhlenberg threw off his clerical robes to reveal an officer's uniform beneath and shouted, "there is a time to pray and a time to fight..." With that declaration, the story says he then called for volunteers to join the 8th Virginia Regiment under his command.
In 1795, the courthouse, designed by Thomas Jefferson, was built using native limestone. The courthouse, located on Main Street, is the oldest courthouse still in use west of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Select the Right Welding Trade School Woodstock VA
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Marine Welding Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Woodstock VA.