How to Pick a Welder Trade School near Washburn Missouri
Enrolling in the ideal welding vocational school near Washburn MO is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welder vocational 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options to obtain 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Washburn MO.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Washburn MO employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Washburn MO area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive 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 certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Washburn MO for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Washburn MO welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Washburn MO employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Washburn MO welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Washburn MO home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Washburn MO, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Washburn MO?
Perhaps you live in the Washburn 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.
Washburn is a city in Washburn Township, Barry County, Missouri, United States. The current town encompasses the sites of two communities formerly known as Keetsville and O'Day and is named for local pioneer Samuel C. Washburn. The population was 435 at the 2010 census.
Located along the historic Trail of Tears and on the Old Wire Road, Keetsville traced its official settlement to Georgia native John Cureton (1795-1853), who had served as a judge in Washington County, Arkansas before settling on the Washburn Prairie about two miles north of current day Washburn in 1840 and then procured the location of the town. In 1853, Cureton died and ownership of the land transferred to the Englishman James T. Keet (1818-1863), who then laid out the town of Keetsville. The 1850s saw the first real establishment of the town with Keet establishing a store at the site. The growth of the town would be interrupted by the Civil War, as a February 1862 skirmish, a predecessor to the much larger Battle of Pea Ridge the next month in Pea Ridge, Arkansas, would result in the destruction of the fledgling town. Following the war, the town was rebuilt between 1867 and 1869 and in 1868 it was renamed Washburn in honor of an early pioneer to the area Samuel Washburn, who had lived in the area about ten years, before moving to Texas where he was killed in 1838.
In the winter of 1879 and 1880, the Atlantic and Pacific Railway — at that time a franchise of the St. Louis and San Francisco Railway — built a railroad line between Pierce City, Missouri and Seligman, Missouri. This line ran about a half mile west of what was then Keetsville, but soon to be renamed Washburn. Instead of incorporating the Keetsville or Washburn name into the railroad stop at this location, the stop and the community that blossomed next to it was instead named O’Day, after the Irish-born John O’Day (1843-1901), a Springfield-based attorney for the railroad. In the years that followed O’Day grew, adding two hotels, shops, a newspaper, dwellings and in either 1887 or 1888 a post office, while also remaining codependent of neighboring Washburn concerning educational, religious and social life.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Washburn MO area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start 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. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Washburn MO
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers 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 faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Washburn MO.