How to Choose a Welding Degree Program near Winona Kansas
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Winona KS is an essential 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 fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Winona KS.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Winona KS employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. 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 specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical School
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Winona KS area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. 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 provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Winona KS for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older 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 Winona KS welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Winona KS contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Winona KS welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Winona KS home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Winona KS, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Winona KS?
Perhaps you live in the Winona Kansas 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.
Winona was originally known as Gopher, and under the latter name was founded in 1884. It was renamed Winona in 1887. The community is named after the character Wenonah, the mother of Hiawatha in Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha (1855).
Winona is located at 39°3′42″N 101°14′42″W / 39.06167°N 101.24500°W / 39.06167; -101.24500 (39.061639, -101.244995). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.26 square miles (0.67 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 162 people, 74 households, and 40 families residing in the city. The population density was 623.1 inhabitants per square mile (240.6/km2). There were 107 housing units at an average density of 411.5 per square mile (158.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.9% White, 0.6% Asian, 1.9% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Winona KS area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until 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 desire to advance their expertise 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 certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational School Winona KS
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Winona KS.