How to Find the Best Welding Trade School near Wheeling West Virginia
Selecting the right welding technical school near Wheeling WV is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many 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 select the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Wheeling WV area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working 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 diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Wheeling WV employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various 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, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Wheeling WV area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Wheeling WV for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined 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 considering 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 place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Wheeling WV welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Wheeling WV employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to 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. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Wheeling WV welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Wheeling WV home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wheeling WV, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Wheeling 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 provide a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pipe Welding Classes Wheeling WV
Choosing the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Pipe Welding Classes and wanted more information on the topic Courses For Welding. 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 reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Wheeling WV.
Find More Welding Locations in West Virginia
Wheeling, West Virginia
Wheeling is a city in Ohio and Marshall counties in the U.S. state of West Virginia. Located almost entirely in Ohio County, of which it is the county seat, it lies along the Ohio River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Wheeling was originally a settlement in the British colony of Virginia and later an important city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Wheeling was the first state capital of West Virginia. Due to its location along major transportation routes, including the Ohio River, National Road, and the B&O Railroad, Wheeling became a manufacturing center in the late nineteenth century. After experiencing the closing of factories and substantial population loss following World War II, Wheeling's major industries now include healthcare, education, law and legal services, entertainment and tourism, and energy.
The origins of the name "Wheeling" are disputed. One of the more credible explanations is that the word comes from the Lenni-Lenape phrase wih link or wee lunk, which meant "place of the head" or "place of the skull." This name supposedly referred to a white settler who was scalped and decapitated. His severed head was displayed at the confluence of Wheeling Creek and the Ohio River. Native Americans had inhabited the area for thousands of years. In the 17th century, the Iroquois from present-day New York state conquered the upper Ohio Valley, pushing out other tribes and maintaining the area as their hunting ground.
Originally explored by the French, Wheeling still has a lead plate remnant that the explorer Céloron de Blainville buried in 1749 at the mouth of Wheeling Creek to mark his claim. Later, Christopher Gist and George Washington surveyed the land in 1751 and 1770, respectively.