How to Find the Best Welding Certification Program near South Portland Maine
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near South Portland ME is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade 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 talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
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Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the South Portland ME area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many South Portland ME employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Technical Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the South Portland ME area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. 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 may want to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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 specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in South Portland ME for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 South Portland ME welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of South Portland ME employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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. If not, ask a local South Portland ME welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your South Portland ME home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near South Portland ME, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater South Portland ME area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start 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. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want 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 certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Top Part Time Welding Schools South Portland ME
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Top Part Time Welding Schools and wanted more information on the topic Best Accelerated Welding Schools. However, 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 that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in South Portland ME.
Other Maine Welder Locations
South Portland, Maine
South Portland is a city in Cumberland County, Maine, United States, and is the fourth-largest city in the state, incorporated in 1898. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 25,002. Known for its working waterfront, South Portland is situated on Portland Harbor and overlooks the skyline of Portland and the islands of Casco Bay. Due to South Portland's close proximity to air, marine, rail, and highway transportation options, the city has become a center for retail and industry in the region.
Despite the name, South Portland was never part of the city of Portland, but rather part of Cape Elizabeth. It broke off in 1895. However, both Cape Elizabeth and Portland were once part of Falmouth. Cape Elizabeth, then including what later became South Portland, broke away from Falmouth in 1765. South Portland is a principal city of the Portland – South Portland – Biddeford metropolitan area.
South Portland was first settled in 1630, and it grew to become a small residential community with many farms. The village was raided by natives in Father Rale's War (1724). In 1858, the City of Portland purchased land near the Fore River for the Forest City Cemetery. On March 15, 1895, it was incorporated as a town after it broke away from Cape Elizabeth, based on a disagreement on a future source of public drinking water. Three years later South Portland became a city, destined to receive its drinking water, like Portland, from Sebago Lake, while Cape Elizabeth used wells or other local sources.