How to Select the Right Welder Training Class near West Mifflin Pennsylvania
Enrolling in the ideal welding trade school near West Mifflin PA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the West Mifflin PA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies 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 future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous West Mifflin PA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the West Mifflin PA area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 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 must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as 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 assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in West Mifflin PA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the West Mifflin PA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of West Mifflin PA contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. 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. If not, ask a local West Mifflin PA welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your West Mifflin PA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near West Mifflin PA, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Mifflin PA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in West Mifflin PA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the West Mifflin Pennsylvania area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
West Mifflin is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States, located southeast of downtown Pittsburgh. The population was 20,313 at the 2010 census. It is named after Thomas Mifflin, 1st Governor of Pennsylvania, signer of the United States Constitution, and 1st Quartermaster General of the United States Army.
Although the borough is heavily residential, it is home to one of America's oldest traditional amusement parks, Kennywood Park. Other employers include advanced naval nuclear propulsion technology research and development facility, Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory; monorail manufacturer Bombardier; US Steel's Mon Valley Works–Irvin Plant; Community College of Allegheny County's South Campus; and the Allegheny County Airport.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 14.4 square miles (37 km2), of which 14.2 square miles (37 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.78 km2), or 1.80%, is water. The landscape is largely hilly and wooded, and the borough's eastern boundary is contiguous with the Monongahela River three separate times. Much of the original landscape has been altered as a result of the historic dumping of steel mill byproducts such as slag and fly ash.
Pick the Right Welding Trade Program West Mifflin PA
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Learning MIG Welding. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in West Mifflin PA.
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