How to Choose a Welder Training Program near Washington Missouri
Choosing the ideal welder trade school near Washington MO is an important 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welder trade 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 create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Washington MO.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Washington MO employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type 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 specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Technical School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Washington MO area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Washington MO 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 Assistance Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various 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. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Washington MO welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Washington MO employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Washington MO welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Washington MO home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case 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 regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Washington MO, 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, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Washington MO?
Perhaps you live in the Washington Missouri 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.
Washington is a city on the Missouri River in Franklin County, Missouri, United States. The population was 13,892 from the 2010 census. It is the corncob pipe capital of the world, with Missouri Meerschaum located on the riverfront.
Washington is located at 38°33′7″N 91°0′48″W / 38.55194°N 91.01333°W / 38.55194; -91.01333 (38.551879, -91.013313). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.87 square miles (25.56 km2), of which, 9.34 square miles (24.19 km2) is land and 0.53 square miles (1.37 km2) is water. The city has an extreme continental climate. The majority of annual precipitation falls during the humid springs and summers. Typically, falls and winters are relatively dry. While snow is not rare, it is not as frequent as in the upper Midwest. An average of 19 inches falls annually.
Named after George Washington after it came under American control, the town was first settled during the rule of the Spanish Empire. It was originally called St. John Meyer's Settlement and was the site of the Spanish log fort, San Juan del Misuri (1796–1803).
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Washington MO area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished 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 knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Washington MO
Choosing the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Washington MO.