How to Find the Right Welder Training Class near Williamson West Virginia
Selecting the ideal welding school near Williamson WV is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing 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 the cost of tuition are crucial considerations 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 develop 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 Training
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Williamson WV.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Williamson WV employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Technical Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Williamson WV area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already 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 essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Williamson WV for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Williamson WV welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 field, but also that it has the network of Williamson WV contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited 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 facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Williamson WV welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Williamson WV home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Williamson WV, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Williamson WV area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Williamson WV?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Williamson West Virginia area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Williamson, West Virginia
Williamson is a city in Mingo County, West Virginia, United States, along the Tug Fork River. The population was 3,191 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Mingo County, and is the county's largest and most populous city. Williamson is home to Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College. The Tug Fork River separates Williamson from South Williamson, Kentucky.
Williamson is the site of a large rail yard built by the former Norfolk and Western Railroad (now Norfolk Southern Railway), which was built to service the many coal mines of the region. The city is protected by a floodwall, completed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1991 in response to devastating floods along the Tug Fork River in 1977 and again in 1984. The wall incorporates floodgates along major access points which, when locked, form a solid barrier against floodwaters. There have only been two uses of the gates thus far: the first occurring in 2002 during a major flood in the region, and the second occurring in 2003, when only two lower lying gates were closed in anticipation of rising water levels.
Williamson was incorporated in 1892. Most historians believe that Williamson was named in honor of Wallace J. Williamson. He owned the land where Williamson now stands, earned a fortune in real estate investments in the area, and founded the city's first bank and its first hotel. Others claim that the city was named for Wallace's father, Benjamin F. Williamson. He owned most of the land in the region before dividing it among his sons.
Choose the Best Welding Trade School Williamson WV
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Degree Online. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Williamson WV.