How to Select a Welding Certificate Program near Whitefish Montana
Finding the ideal welder vocational school near Whitefish MT is an important first step to starting 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welding 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Training Classes
There are multiple options to obtain 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Whitefish MT.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Whitefish MT employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Tech School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Whitefish MT area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 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 should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Whitefish MT 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.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Whitefish MT welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Whitefish MT employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Whitefish MT welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Whitefish MT home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Whitefish MT, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Whitefish MT?
Perhaps you live in the Whitefish Montana 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.
Whitefish (Salish: epɫx̣ʷy̓u, "has whitefish") is a city in Flathead County, Montana, United States. The population was 6,357 at the 2010 census. It is home to a ski resort on Big Mountain called Whitefish Mountain Resort.
The Great Northern Railway was built through what is now Whitefish in 1904, which sparked development of the town. The area was originally known as Stumptown due to the abundant amount of timber that had to be cleared to build the town and railroad and because tree stumps were left in the streets throughout downtown. Early residents of the town worked for the railroad and nearby logging industries. By the late 1940s, with the successful construction of a ski resort on Big Mountain (a collaboration among local businessmen) the tourism sector was becoming increasingly important. The community was named for its location near Whitefish Lake.
In 2006, over 68,000 passengers embarked and disembarked through the historic Whitefish Depot, a stop on Amtrak's Empire Builder line, with some percentage of those being headed to the ski resort on Big Mountain.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Whitefish MT area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Trade School Whitefish MT
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Whitefish MT.