How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near West Liberty Iowa
Locating the right welder vocational school near West Liberty IA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the West Liberty IA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly 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 two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of West Liberty IA employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements 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 qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Trade Program
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the West Liberty IA area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose 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). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in West Liberty IA 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.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at 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 refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the West Liberty IA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of West Liberty IA contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder schools 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. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 West Liberty IA welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your West Liberty IA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Liberty IA, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Liberty IA?
Perhaps you live in the West Liberty 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 Liberty, Iowa
West Liberty is located 5 miles south of Interstate 80 on Historic Highway 6. The city is home to the West Liberty Raceway, located in the Muscatine County Fairgrounds. The Muscatine County Fair takes place in West Liberty in July of each year.
West Liberty was incorporated in 1868. The town was located at the junction of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific and Burlington, Cedar Rapids and Northern Railroads. Prior to incorporation the town stood about half a mile north of where it is currently located but it was relocated in order to be closer to the railway. The settlement was originally known as Wapsinonoc Township, which means smooth surfaced, meandering creek or stream. The changing of the name to Liberty (after the town of Liberty, Ohio, the former home of many of the new settlers) is attributed to the wife of the township's first postmaster, Simeon A. Bagley. It is believed that the town came to be known as West Liberty after it was relocated, possibly influenced by a town west of Liberty, Ohio that was named West Liberty, Ohio.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,736 people, 1,251 households, and 890 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,147.1 inhabitants per square mile (829.0/km2). There were 1,316 housing units at an average density of 756.3 per square mile (292.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 71.2% White, 0.4% African American, 0.1% Native American, 2.1% Asian, 23.3% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 52.2% of the population. West Liberty was the first town in the state of Iowa to achieve a Hispanic-majority population.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Liberty IA area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover 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.
Select the Right Welding Technical Program West Liberty IA
Picking the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Liberty IA.