How to Pick a Welding Training Program near West Salem Wisconsin
Enrolling in the right welder school near West Salem WI is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the West Salem WI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many West Salem WI employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Trade Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the West Salem WI area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in West Salem WI for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the West Salem WI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of West Salem WI employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 West Salem WI welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your West Salem WI home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near West Salem WI, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol 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 Salem WI?
Perhaps you live in the West Salem Wisconsin 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 Salem, Wisconsin
West Salem is a village in La Crosse County, Wisconsin, United States, along the La Crosse River. It is part of the La Crosse-Onalaska, WI-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 4,799 as of the 2010 Census.
West Salem was platted in 1856. It was named Salem by a Baptist minister named Elder Card because the word meant "peace" in Arabic and Hebrew. The word West was added to the name when mail was confused with another town in the state named Salem.
The donation of approximately ten acres of land to a railway company led to the creation of West Salem. A station was built in West Salem on the original Milwaukee and La Crosse Railway which ran to La Crosse. It was later taken over by the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway (later becoming the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad). The railway used the land to build a depot and tracks.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater West Salem WI area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School West Salem WI
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important 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 assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in West Salem WI.