How to Select a Welder Degree Program near Walhalla South Carolina
Finding the ideal welding technical school near Walhalla SC is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover 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 trade or vocational 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered near Walhalla SC.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by Walhalla SC area technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach 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 2 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 certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential 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 appropriate training to become a professional welder in Walhalla SC.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Walhalla SC employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Walhalla SC 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 tech school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin 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. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Walhalla SC. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welder Technical School
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Walhalla SC area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Walhalla SC welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other Walhalla SC metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Walhalla SC contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Walhalla SC welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Walhalla SC home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree 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 an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Walhalla SC, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify 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 due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Walhalla SC
Walhalla, South Carolina
Walhalla is a small town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Oconee County, South Carolina, United States. It is located 16 miles (26 km) from Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina and lies within the area of the Blue Ridge Escarpment, an area of transition between mountains and piedmont, and contains numerous waterfalls. It was founded by German settlers in the late 1800s even though the area had long been settled by Scotch-Irish farmers. The population was 3,801 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Oconee County. The current mayor of Walhalla is Danny Edwards.
Walhalla began as a settlement of German immigrants who left from Hamburg, Germany and Bavaria with some English, Scots and Irish who came over in the same ship. In particular, General John A. Wagener, Claus Bullwinkel, John C. Henckel, Jacob Schroder, and Christopher F. Seeba (trustees of the German Colonization Society of Charleston) bought 17,859 acres (72.27 km2) of land for $27,000 from Reverend Joseph Grisham of West Union on December 24, 1849.
The Ellicott Rock, Keil Farm, Oconee County Cage, Oconee Station and Richards House, St. John's Lutheran Church, Stumphouse Tunnel Complex, and Walhalla Graded School are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The town is built mostly on types of granite rock. It is also near some minor faults and therefore subject to small and infrequent earthquakes. The last nearby earthquake had its epicenter in Newry, South Carolina, and occurred at 7:42 am EDT on May 19, 1971. The earthquake had an intensity of VI (Strong) in Newry as measured by the Mercalli intensity scale. The cause of the Newry quake was likely a slippage of the Brevard Fault and other faults in the area aided by the immense weight of the man-made Lake Keowee, created by the Keowee Dam.
Choose the Right Welding Trade Program Walhalla SC
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Walhalla SC.