How to Pick a Welding Training Program near West Bend Iowa
Finding the right welding school near West Bend IA is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once 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 important issues when evaluating welder trade 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the West Bend IA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of West Bend IA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Technical Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the West Bend IA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, 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 profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in West Bend IA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the West Bend IA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of West Bend IA employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern 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 instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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 West Bend IA welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your West Bend IA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Bend IA, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Bend IA?
Perhaps you live in the West Bend Iowa 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.
West Bend, Iowa
West Bend had its start in the early 1880s by the building of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway through that territory. It was originally called Ives after the president of the railroad, but the townspeople had it changed to West Bend from the bend in the river. West Bend (aka Ives) was the first town in Palo Alto County. A special five cent tax to build a railroad station was promised to the railroad if they would create a stop when the railroad was built. The railroad did that placing the line and the new station in West Bend.
As of the census of 2010, there were 785 people, 360 households, and 213 families residing in the city. The population density was 882.0 inhabitants per square mile (340.5/km2). There were 396 housing units at an average density of 444.9 per square mile (171.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.1% White, 0.1% Native American, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.
There were 360 households of which 20.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.71.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Bend IA area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate 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. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire 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 careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Right Welding Technical Program West Bend IA
Selecting the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in West Bend IA.