How to Choose a Welder Degree Program near Willow Springs Missouri
Selecting the right welding school near Willow Springs MO is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welder technical 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 sensible to develop 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Willow Springs MO.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Willow Springs MO employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding trade school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Vocational Program
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Willow Springs MO area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to 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 following are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds 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 make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Willow Springs MO for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place 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 establish associations within the Willow Springs MO welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Willow Springs MO contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three 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 trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Willow Springs MO welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Willow Springs MO home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Willow Springs MO, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Willow Springs MO?
Perhaps you live in the Willow Springs Missouri 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.
Willow Springs, Missouri
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,184 people, 925 households, and 564 families residing in the city. The population density was 618.7 inhabitants per square mile (238.9/km2). There were 1,082 housing units at an average density of 306.5 per square mile (118.3/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.11% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 0.41% Native American, 0.73% Asian, 0.46% from other races, and 2.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.06% of the population.
There were 925 households of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.3% were married couples living together, 13.7% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.0% had a male householder with no wife present, and 39.0% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.94.
The median age in the city was 38.6 years. 26.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 23.2% were from 25 to 44; 21.1% were from 45 to 64; and 21.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.1% male and 52.9% female.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Willow Springs MO area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Technical School Willow Springs MO
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Willow Springs MO.