How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near West Bend Iowa
Locating the ideal welder trade school near West Bend IA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options 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 available 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 prevalent welding programs offered in the West Bend IA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many West Bend IA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds 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, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the West Bend IA area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in West Bend IA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other 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 establish associations within the West Bend IA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who enrolled 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of West Bend IA employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar 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. If not, ask a local West Bend IA welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your West Bend IA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Bend IA, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near West Bend IA?
Perhaps you live in the West Bend Iowa 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 Bend, Iowa
West Bend had its start in the early 1880s by the building of the Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railway through that territory. It was originally called Ives after the president of the railroad, but the townspeople had it changed to West Bend from the bend in the river. West Bend (aka Ives) was the first town in Palo Alto County. A special five cent tax to build a railroad station was promised to the railroad if they would create a stop when the railroad was built. The railroad did that placing the line and the new station in West Bend.
As of the census of 2010, there were 785 people, 360 households, and 213 families residing in the city. The population density was 882.0 inhabitants per square mile (340.5/km2). There were 396 housing units at an average density of 444.9 per square mile (171.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 99.1% White, 0.1% Native American, and 0.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.4% of the population.
There were 360 households of which 20.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 4.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.1% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were non-families. 38.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 23.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.71.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater West Bend IA area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin 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. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Technical Program West Bend IA
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in West Bend IA.