How to Choose the Right Welding Certificate Program near Meridian Mississippi
Locating the right welder vocational school near Meridian MS is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Meridian MS.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Meridian MS employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally 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, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Tech Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Meridian MS area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Meridian MS for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Meridian MS welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who were 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Meridian MS employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 Meridian MS welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Meridian MS home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might 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, most 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire 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 some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Meridian MS, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Meridian MS area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Meridian MS?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Meridian Mississippi area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Meridian is the sixth largest city in the state of Mississippi, United States. It is the county seat of Lauderdale County and the principal city of the Meridian, Mississippi Micropolitan Statistical Area. Along major highways, the city is 93 mi (150 km) east of Jackson, Mississippi; 154 mi (248 km) southwest of Birmingham, Alabama; 202 mi (325 km) northeast of New Orleans, Louisiana; and 231 mi (372 km) southeast of Memphis, Tennessee.
Established in 1860, at the junction of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad and Southern Railway of Mississippi, Meridian built an economy based on the railways and goods transported on them, and it became a strategic trading center. During the American Civil War, General William Tecumseh Sherman burned much of the city to the ground in the Battle of Meridian (February 1864). Rebuilt after the war, the city entered a "Golden Age". It became the largest city in Mississippi between 1890 and 1930, and a leading center for manufacturing in the South, with 44 trains arriving and departing daily. Union Station, built in 1906, is now a multi-modal center, with access to the Meridian Transit System, Greyhound Buses, and Trailways, averaging 242,360 passengers per year. Although the economy slowed with the decline of the railroad industry, the city has diversified, with healthcare, military, and manufacturing employing the most people in 2010. The population within the city limits, according to 2008 census estimates, is 38,232, but a population of 232,900 in a 45-mile (72 km) radius and 526,500 in a 65-mile (105 km) radius, of which 104,600 and 234,200 people respectively are in the labor force, feeds the economy of the city.
The area is served by two military facilities, Naval Air Station Meridian and Key Field, which employ over 4,000 people. NAS Meridian is home to the Regional Counter-Drug Training Academy (RCTA) and the first local Department of Homeland Security in the state. Key Field is named after brothers Fred and Al Key, who set a world endurance flight record in 1935. The field is now home to the 186th Air Refueling Wing of the Air National Guard and a support facility for the 185th Aviation Brigade of the Army National Guard. Rush Foundation Hospital is the largest non-military employer in the region, employing 2,610 people. Among the city's many arts organizations and historic buildings are the Riley Center, the Meridian Museum of Art, Meridian Little Theatre, and the Meridian Symphony Orchestra. Meridian was home to two Carnegie libraries, one for whites and one for African Americans. The Carnegie Branch Library, now demolished, was one of a number of Carnegie libraries built for blacks in the Southern United States during the segregation era.
Choose the Best Welding Trade Program Meridian MS
Picking the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Training For Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Meridian MS.