How to Select a Welding Trade School near Athens Ohio
Locating the right welding school near Athens OH is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen welding school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in Athens OH.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by Ohio trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by Ohio community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Athens OH.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Athens OH employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Athens OH employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by various Athens OH area community colleges and vocational schools that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welder Tech School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Athens OH area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for Athens OH non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various Athens OH metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Athens OH contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Athens OH welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Athens OH home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the Athens OH area welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Athens OH, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Want to Become a Welding Professional?When prepping to interview for a Welder job, it's a good idea to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Welder candidates is "What drove you to pick Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not only the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Welder, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions relating exclusively to Welding, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Considering there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you have that make you an excellent Welding Technician and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but write down a few concepts and topics that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the recruiter.
Find the Best Welding Trade School near Athens OH
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Athens OH.
About Athens Ohio
Athens is a city in and the county seat of Athens County, Ohio, United States. It is located along the Hocking River in the southeastern part of Ohio. A historic college town, Athens is home to Ohio University, and is the principal city of the Athens, Ohio Micropolitan Statistical Area. The official population of Athens in the 2010 U.S. Census was 23,832.
Athens is a qualified Tree City USA as recognized by the National Arbor Day Foundation.
Athens is located in what was once the eastern region of two major Native American mound-building groups, the Adena culture from c. 1000 BC to 200 AD and the Ohio Hopewell tradition, c. 300 BC to 700 AD. By the middle of the eighteenth century, the Shawnee, an Algonquian tribe, were the primary tribe of Native Americans living in what would become Athens County. According to a 1794 map by Thomas Kitchin, no settlement existed in the Athens area during the time immediately prior to the founding of the city.
The first permanent European settlers arrived in Athens in 1797, more than a decade after the United States victory in the American Revolutionary War. In 1800, the town site was first surveyed and plotted, but it was not incorporated as a village until 1811. In the meantime, Ohio had become a state in 1803. Ohio University was chartered in 1804, the first public institution of higher learning in the Northwest Territory. Previously part of Washington County, Ohio, Athens County was formed in 1805, named for the ancient center of learning, Athens, Greece. Ohio University in Athens was established with the first federal endowment of an educational institution in the United States. In July 1787, the Congress of the Confederation gave to the Ohio Company of Associates "two townships of good land for the support of a literary institution" in the newly created Northwest Territory. During The First Session of the Second Territorial General Assembly, held in Chillicothe from November 23, 1801 to January 23, 1802, the General Assembly passed an act establishing the "American Western University" at Athens. The act was approved by Arthur St. Clair, Governor of the Northwest Territory on January 9, 1802. However, no university with the name of American Western University would be established. Ohio became a state in 1803 and on February 18, 1804, the state legislature passed an act establishing the "Ohio University" in the town of Athens. Athens received city status in 1912, following the 1910 census showing the population had passed 5,000 residents, the requirement for city status in Ohio.
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