How to Enroll In a Welder Technical School near Topsham Maine
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Topsham ME is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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
There are several options available to obtain 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 available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered near Topsham ME.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by Topsham ME area trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by Maine community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Topsham ME.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Topsham ME employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Topsham ME employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship near Topsham ME. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Decide on a Welding Vocational Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Topsham ME area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Topsham ME welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various Topsham ME 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 relationships within the local 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 essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Topsham ME employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm 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 uncertain 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 Topsham ME welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Topsham ME home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Topsham ME, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Being a Welder in Topsham ME
Topsham is a town in Sagadahoc County, Maine, United States. The population was 8,784 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Portland–South Portland–Biddeford, Maine metropolitan statistical area. The town is home to the annual Topsham Fair.
Called Sawacook, the area was territory of the Pejepscot Abenaki Indians, a subtribe of the Anasagunticooks (now Androscoggins), who controlled the Androscoggin River. They lived and fished at Pejepscot Falls. But a plague, probably smallpox brought by Europeans, decimated the tribe's population in 1615–1616. On June 16, 1632, the area was granted by the Plymouth Council to Thomas Purchase and George Way, later acquired by Richard Wharton and then, in 1714, by the Pejepscot Company.
The first sawmill was built in 1716 on the Cathance River and, in 1717, the plantation received the name Topsham, named for Topsham in Devon, England. On January 31, 1764, it was incorporated as a town by the Massachusetts General Court.Shipbuilding and lumber mills were important early businesses, the latter especially active between 1750–1770. There was a gristmill and brickyard. Pejepscot Falls provided water power to operate mills, and industries included a door, window sash and stairway factory, shingle mill, watch factory, pottery maker, nail factory, pitchfork factory, two tanneries, tobacco manufacturer, two feldspar quarries and a marble works. In 1856, the Sagadahoc Agricultural & Horticultural Society erected its building and fairgrounds, and the town remains host to the annual Topsham Fair.
In 1756, a toll bridge connecting Brunswick and Topsham was constructed by the "Proprietors of the Androscoggin Bridge." It was destroyed by fire in 1842. The current Frank J. Woods bridge, known as "the green bridge", was opened in 1932. In 1936, a large flood hit Brunswick and Topsham, damaging the pedestrian "Swing Bridge" and causing the Androscoggin to flow through the lower levels of the Pejepscot Mill.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Topsham ME
Picking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Topsham ME.