How to Choose a Welder Technical School near Winona Kansas
Finding the right welding technical school near Winona KS is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Winona KS.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Winona KS employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Winona KS area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types 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, such as 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Winona KS for schools that are not accredited. 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. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 Winona KS welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Winona KS employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over 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 on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Winona KS welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Winona KS home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. 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 reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Winona KS, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Winona KS?
Perhaps you live in the Winona Kansas 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.
Winona was originally known as Gopher, and under the latter name was founded in 1884. It was renamed Winona in 1887. The community is named after the character Wenonah, the mother of Hiawatha in Longfellow's epic poem The Song of Hiawatha (1855).
Winona is located at 39°3′42″N 101°14′42″W / 39.06167°N 101.24500°W / 39.06167; -101.24500 (39.061639, -101.244995). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.26 square miles (0.67 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2010, there were 162 people, 74 households, and 40 families residing in the city. The population density was 623.1 inhabitants per square mile (240.6/km2). There were 107 housing units at an average density of 411.5 per square mile (158.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.9% White, 0.6% Asian, 1.9% from other races, and 0.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.1% of the population.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Winona KS area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Vocational School Winona KS
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some 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, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Winona KS.