How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Lewiston Idaho
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Lewiston ID is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welding vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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 Programs
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Lewiston ID.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Lewiston ID employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Lewiston ID area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain 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 choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Lewiston ID for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Lewiston ID welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Lewiston ID employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Lewiston ID welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Lewiston ID home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few 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 evaluations. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lewiston ID, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lewiston ID?
Perhaps you live in the Lewiston Idaho area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Lewiston is a city in and the county seat of Nez Perce County, Idaho, United States, in the state's north central region. It is the second-largest city in the northern Idaho region, behind Coeur d'Alene, and ninth-largest in the state. Lewiston is the principal city of the Lewiston, ID-WA Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Nez Perce County and Asotin County, Washington. As of the 2010 census, the population of Lewiston was 31,894, up from 30,904 in 2000.
Lewiston is located at the confluence of the Snake River and Clearwater River, thirty miles (48 km) southeast of the Lower Granite Dam. Because of dams (and their locks) on the Snake and Columbia River, Lewiston is reachable by some ocean-going vessels. The Port of Lewiston (Idaho's only seaport) has the distinction of being the farthest inland port east of the West Coast of the United States. The Lewiston-Nez Perce County Airport serves the city by air.
Lewiston was founded 157 years ago in 1861 in the wake of a gold rush which began the previous year near Pierce, northeast of Lewiston. In 1863, Lewiston became the first capital of the newly created Idaho Territory. Its stint as seat of the new territory's government was short-lived, as a resolution to have the capital moved south to Boise was passed by the Idaho Territorial Legislature on December 7, 1864.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Lewiston ID area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation 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. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Technical School Lewiston ID
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Lewiston ID.