How to Choose a Welder Certification Class near Wessington Springs South Dakota
Finding the ideal welding school near Wessington Springs SD is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose 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? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible to create 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 Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Wessington Springs SD.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Wessington Springs SD employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds 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 location and make certain that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Wessington Springs SD area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational 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 single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Wessington Springs SD for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out 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 place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Wessington Springs SD 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 welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Wessington Springs SD contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Wessington Springs SD welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Wessington Springs SD home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wessington Springs SD, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend 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 if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Wessington Springs SD?
Perhaps you live in the Wessington Springs South Dakota 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.
Wessington Springs, South Dakota
The Wessington Springs townsite was founded in 1880 and platted in 1882, early in the era of agricultural settlement in the region. The town's boom era began in 1903, when a branch line of the Milwaukee Road railroad was constructed into the town from the east.
The town was the home of Wessington Springs College, an institution of higher learning that existed from 1887 until 1968. There is a baseball field in town that hosts an amateur baseball team named the Wessington Springs Owls
On June 18, 2014 the town of Wessington Springs was hit by a tornado. At approximately 7:45 PM the tornado tore through the heart of Wessington Springs and 50+ homes were destroyed, and 77 people were left homeless. Many other buildings and properties were damaged significantly. No fatalities were reported but several injuries were sustained. The town's emergency sirens gave residents significant advance notice to the threat, allowing residents to flee to the town's fallout shelter avoiding injury and death. The town was on lockdown for several hours to prevent further injuries and blockages.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Wessington Springs SD 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 beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must 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 find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Trade Program Wessington Springs SD
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Wessington Springs SD.