How to Choose a Welding Technical School near Valparaiso Indiana
Finding the right welder vocational school near Valparaiso IN is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several alternatives available 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Valparaiso IN.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Valparaiso IN employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also 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 similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Valparaiso IN area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic 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 confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Valparaiso IN for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Valparaiso IN welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Valparaiso IN employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Valparaiso IN welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Valparaiso IN home. If you do decide 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 especially true 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 local 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 instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Valparaiso IN, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Valparaiso IN?
Perhaps you live in the Valparaiso Indiana 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.
Valparaíso (/ˌvælpəˈraɪzoʊ/; Spanish: [balpaɾaˈiso]) is a major city, seaport, and educational center in the commune of Valparaíso, Chile. "Greater Valparaíso" is the second largest metropolitan area in the country. Valparaíso is located about 120 km northwest of Santiago by road and is one of the South Pacific's most important seaports. Valparaíso is the capital of Chile's third most populated administrative region and has been the headquarters for the Chilean National Congress since 1990. Valparaíso has seven universities.
Valparaíso played an important geopolitical role in the second half of the 19th century, when the city served as a major stopover for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans by crossing the Straits of Magellan. Valparaíso mushroomed during its golden age, as a magnet for European immigrants, when the city was known by international sailors as "Little San Francisco" and "The Jewel of the Pacific". In 2003, the historic quarter of Valparaíso was declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site.
Notable features include Latin America's oldest stock exchange, the continent's first volunteer fire department, Chile's first public library, and the oldest Spanish language newspaper in continuous publication in the world, El Mercurio de Valparaíso.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Valparaiso IN area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School Valparaiso IN
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Valparaiso IN.
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