How to Choose the Best Welder Certificate Program near Blountstown Florida
Finding the right welding trade school near Blountstown FL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish 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.
Request Free Information on Welding Schools Near You
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to get 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Blountstown FL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Blountstown FL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just 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 certain types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Blountstown FL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many 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 must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Blountstown FL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Blountstown FL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Blountstown FL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Blountstown FL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Blountstown FL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might 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 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.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Blountstown FL, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Blountstown FL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Welding Schools Blountstown FL
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Schools and wanted more information on the topic Where to Find Online Welding Colleges. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Blountstown FL.
Other Florida Welder Locations
Blountstown is a city in Calhoun County, Florida, United States. The population was 2,514 at the 2010 census, which represented an increase from 2,444 in 2000. It is the county seat of Calhoun County.
Blountstown is named for John Blount, a Creek Indian chief who served as a guide for General Andrew Jackson during his invasion of Spanish Florida in 1818. This invasion caused the United States to purchase Florida from Spain and the territory became a part of the U.S. in 1821.
On October 10, 2018, Blountstown was nearly annihilated when Category 5 Hurricane Michael struck the town. The city was without power for almost three weeks and over 80% of homes and businesses were heavily damaged or destroyed. Blountstown High School suffered heavy damage, but Blountstown Elementary School was completely destroyed. As of November 2018, BES students are being housed at the Blountstown High and Blountstown Middle School campuses until the local school board can rebuild the elementary school. In addition, the local timber and farming industries, which are Calhoun County's largest industries, were completely destroyed, costing millions of dollars in economic loss.