How to Choose the Right Welder Trade School near Weirton West Virginia
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Weirton WV is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Weirton WV.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete 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.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Weirton WV employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type 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 specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Weirton WV area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive 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 alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Weirton WV for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help 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 refer 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 develop relationships within the Weirton WV welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined 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 higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Weirton WV contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify 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 uncertain 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 Weirton WV welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Weirton WV home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Weirton WV, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Weirton WV area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical 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 done 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 come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Weirton WV?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Weirton West Virginia area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Weirton, West Virginia
Weirton (pron. WEER-ton) is a city in Brooke and Hancock counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located primarily in Hancock County, the city lies in the northern portions of the state's Northern Panhandle region. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 19,746. Weirton is a principal city of the Weirton–Steubenville, WV-OH Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a 2010 population of 124,454 residents. Additionally, Weirton is part of Greater Pittsburgh, the 20th largest combined statistical area in the United States with a 2016 estimated population of 2,635,228.
The small village called Holliday's Cove lanes — which is now most of downtown Weirton — was founded in 1793. (It eventually lost the apostrophe.) In 1909, Ernest T. Weir arrived from neighboring Pittsburgh and built a steel mill later known as Weirton Steel Corporation just north of Holliday's Cove. An unincorporated settlement called Weirton grew up around the mill that, by 1940, was said to be the largest unincorporated city in the United States. By then Hollidays Cove and two other outlying areas, Weirton Heights and Marland Heights, which as their names suggest were on hilltops or ridges surrounding the "Weir–Cove" area, had also incorporated.
Hollidays Cove Fort was a Revolutionary War fortification constructed in 1774 by soldiers from Ft. Pitt. It was located in what is now downtown Weirton, along Harmons Creek (named for Harmon Greathouse), about three miles from its mouth on the Ohio River. It was commanded by Colonel Andrew Van Swearingen (1741–1793) and later by his son-in-law, Captain Samuel Brady (1756–1795), the famous leader of Brady's Rangers. In 1779, over 28 militia were garrisoned at Hollidays Cove. Two years earlier, Colonel Van Swearingen led a dozen soldiers by longboat down the Ohio to help rescue the inhabitants of Ft. Henry in Wheeling in a siege by the British and Indian tribes in 1777. That mission was memorialized in a WPA-era mural painted on the wall of the Cove Post Office by Charles S. Chapman (1879–1962). The mural features Col. John Bilderback, who later gained infamy as the leader of the massacre of the Moravian Indians in Gnadenhutten in 1782.
Pick the Right Welding Technical School Weirton WV
Choosing the right welder training program 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 Welding Diploma. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Weirton WV.