How to Find the Right Welding Degree Program near Yorktown Virginia
Finding the ideal welder school near Yorktown VA is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Yorktown VA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Yorktown VA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Yorktown VA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish 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 very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example 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 may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Yorktown VA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various 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 help students find employment and establish associations within the Yorktown VA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Yorktown VA contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Yorktown VA welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Yorktown VA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Yorktown VA, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Yorktown VA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished 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 would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Yorktown VA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Yorktown Virginia area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Yorktown is a census-designated place (CDP) in York County, Virginia, United States. It is the county seat of York County, one of the eight original shires formed in colonial Virginia in 1682. Yorktown's population was 195 as of the 2010 census, while York County's population was 66,134 in the 2011 census estimate.
The town is most famous as the site of the siege and subsequent surrender of General Charles Cornwallis to General George Washington and the French Fleet during the American Revolutionary War on October 19, 1781. Although the war would last for another year, this British defeat at Yorktown effectively ended the war. Yorktown also figured prominently in the American Civil War (1861–1865), serving as a major port to supply both northern and southern towns, depending upon who held Yorktown at the time.
Today, Yorktown is one of three sites of the Historic Triangle, which also includes Jamestown and Williamsburg as important colonial-era settlements. It is the eastern terminus of the Colonial Parkway connecting these locations. Yorktown is also the eastern terminus of the TransAmerica Trail, a bicycle touring route created by the Adventure Cycling Association.
Select the Right Welding Technical Program Yorktown VA
Choosing the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Vocational Welding Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Yorktown VA.