How to Find the Right Welding Training Class near West Columbia South Carolina
Locating the right welder school near West Columbia SC is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welding technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the West Columbia SC.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous West Columbia SC employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means 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 welding vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the West Columbia SC area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types 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 itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in West Columbia SC for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the West Columbia SC welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied 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 higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of West Columbia SC contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar 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 West Columbia SC welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your West Columbia SC home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Columbia SC, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater West Columbia SC area that can 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 beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in West Columbia SC?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the West Columbia South Carolina area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
West Columbia, South Carolina
West Columbia is a city and commuter town in the suburban eastern sections of Lexington County, South Carolina, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population was 14,988. It is a part of the greater Columbia, SC metropolitan statistical area.
West Columbia lies west of Columbia, South Carolina, directly across the Congaree River. It is near Columbia's city center or downtown district as well as the South Carolina State House and the Congaree Vista, known locally as "the Vista."
West Columbia was incorporated in 1894 as Brookland, but the United States Postal Service called the town "New Brookland" since there was another town called Brookland. In 1936, the name was changed to West Columbia to emphasize its proximity to Columbia, South Carolina. Numerous businesses, churches and a high school retain the Brookland and New Brookland names.
Choose the Best Welding Tech Program West Columbia SC
Selecting the right welder training program 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 Welding Class. 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 must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in West Columbia SC.