How to Choose a Welder Certification Program near Richland South Carolina
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Richland SC 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 choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered near Richland SC.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by Richland SC area trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by South Carolina community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive 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, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder in Richland SC.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Richland SC employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Richland SC employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Richland SC. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Richland SC area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Richland SC welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. 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 assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other Richland SC metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Richland SC employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over 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 using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Richland SC welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Richland SC home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Richland SC, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Being a Welder in Richland SC
Richland County, South Carolina
Richland County is a county located in the U.S. state of South Carolina. As of the 2016 census estimate, the population was 409,549, making it the second-most populous county in South Carolina, behind only Greenville County. The county seat and largest city is Columbia, the state capital. The county was founded in 1785.
Richland County was probably named for its "rich land." The county was formed in 1785 as part of the large Camden District. A small part of Richland later went to adjacent Kershaw County in 1791. The county seat and largest city is Columbia, which is also the state capital. In 1786 the state legislature decided to move the capital from Charleston to a more central location. A site was chosen in Richland County, which is in the geographic center of the state, and a new town was laid out. Richland County’s boundaries were formally incorporated on Dec. 18, 1799. Cotton from the surrounding plantations was shipped through Columbia and later manufactured into textiles there. General William T. Sherman captured Columbia during the Civil War, and his troops burned the town and parts of the county on February 17, 1865. The U. S. Army returned on more friendly terms in 1917, when Fort Jackson was established, which is now the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center in the U.S. Army. The South Carolina State House is located in downtown Columbia.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 772 square miles (2,000 km2), of which 757 square miles (1,960 km2) is land and 15 square miles (39 km2) (1.9%) is water. Richland County is situated in the center of South Carolina.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 384,504 people, 145,194 households, and 89,357 families residing in the county. The population density was 507.9 inhabitants per square mile (196.1/km2). There were 161,725 housing units at an average density of 213.6 per square mile (82.5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 47.3% white, 45.9% black or African American, 2.2% Asian, 0.3% American Indian, 0.1% Pacific islander, 1.9% from other races, and 2.2% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.8% of the population. In terms of ancestry, 9.6% were German, 8.6% were English, 7.6% were Irish, and 7.1% were American.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Richland SC
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Richland SC.