How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Course near Whitehall Montana
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Whitehall 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 determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out 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 considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Whitehall MT.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Whitehall MT employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number 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, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Technical School
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Whitehall MT area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Whitehall MT for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Whitehall MT welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who were in 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Whitehall MT employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Whitehall MT welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Whitehall MT home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers 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 trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Whitehall MT, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Whitehall MT?
Perhaps you live in the Whitehall 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.
The town is nestled in the Jefferson Valley, which is shadowed by the Tobacco Root and Highland Mountain ranges and sits in the heart of the Deerlodge National Forest. It is also within 23–60 miles of three major airports, four colleges, five ski resorts, seven major rivers, mountain lakes for fishing and backpacking, four lakes for boating, and three hot springs. There are numerous snowmobiling trails for winter riding and summer trail rides. The mountain ranges surrounding the valley, provide excellent opportunitiy for hunting big game.
Whitehall began as a rail depot created by the Northern Pacific and Montana Railroad on September 25, 1889. The name for the depot came from E.G. Brooke, who was inspired by a similar town he stayed in Illinois while making his way westward. On September 3, 1890, the Jefferson County Commissioners accepted and filed the Townsite of Whitehall.
Public education in the town of Whitehall is provided by Whitehall School District. The district includes Whitehall Elementary School (grades K-6), Whitehall Middle School (grades 7-8), and Whitehall High School (grades 9-12).
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Whitehall MT area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate 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 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 seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational School Whitehall MT
Picking the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Whitehall MT.