How to Choose a Welding Trade School near Timberlake North Carolina
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near Timberlake NC is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welding technical 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 prudent to establish 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 Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered near Timberlake NC.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by Timberlake NC area trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by North Carolina community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Timberlake NC.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Timberlake NC employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Timberlake NC employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical 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 setting or in an apprenticeship near Timberlake NC. 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 find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Timberlake NC area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Timberlake NC welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable 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. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various Timberlake NC metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who enrolled 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Timberlake NC employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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 Timberlake NC welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Timberlake NC home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Timberlake NC, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Being a Welder in Timberlake NC
Timberlake, North Carolina
Timberlake is an unincorporated community in south-central Person County, North Carolina. The population was 6,921 at the 2010 census. It lies between Roxboro and Durham along the US Highway 501 corridor through Person County. The economy of this township is dominated by tobacco agriculture and manufacturing.
Even though Timberlake has a fairly large population for an unincorporated municipality, it does not have a large number of businesses. The majority of residents work and do business in the nearby municipalities of Roxboro, NC, Durham, NC, and Hillsborough, NC. The Veterans Memorial Parade, typically held on the Saturday immediately preceding Memorial Day, is Timberlake's largest community gathering.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 6,921 people in 2,684 households. The racial composition of the town was 82.9% White, 13.7% Black or African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% Vietnamese, 1.1% some other race, and 1.5% of two or more races. 2.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. Out of the population it only have a 5.5% unemployment rate.
Pick the Best Welding Vocational School Timberlake NC
Picking the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk 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 school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Timberlake NC.