How to Find the Right Welder Certificate Program near West des Moines Iowa
Locating the ideal welder trade school near West des Moines IA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen welding school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in West des Moines IA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Iowa technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily 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 most often offered by Iowa community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder in West des Moines IA.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many West des Moines IA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to West des Moines IA employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding trade school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by specific West des Moines IA area community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Choose a Welder Tech School
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the West des Moines IA area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for West des Moines IA schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various West des Moines IA metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of West des Moines IA contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local West des Moines IA welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your West des Moines IA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the West des Moines IA area welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near West des Moines IA, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Welder?When getting ready to interview for a Welding position, it's a good idea to reflect on questions you could be asked. One of the things that hiring managers frequently ask Welder applicants is "What made you pick Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not only the private reasons you might have for being a Welder, but additionally what attributes and abilities you have that make you exceptional at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Welding, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you need to ready a number of strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you have that make you an exceptional Welding Technician and the best choice for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and topics that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Find the Ideal Welding Technical Program near West des Moines IA
Selecting the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical 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 evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak 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 school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in West des Moines IA.
About West des Moines Iowa
Des Moines metropolitan area
Coordinates: 41°33′19″N 93°50′09″W / 41.555147°N 93.835831°W / 41.555147; -93.835831
The Des Moines metropolitan area, officially known as the Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), consists of five counties in central Iowa, United States: Polk, Dallas, Warren, Madison, and Guthrie. The 2010 census population of these counties was 569,633, and the 2014 estimated population was 611,549.
Three additional counties, Boone, Jasper, and Story, are part of the Des Moines-Ames-West Des Moines Combined Statistical Area (CSA). The area encompasses the separate metropolitan area of Ames (Story County), and the separate micropolitan areas of Boone, (Boone County), and Newton (Jasper County). The total population of the CSA was 722,323 in the 2010 census and 742,936 based on 2012 estimates.
The lowest geographical point in the metropolitan area is the Des Moines River, where it passes the northeast corner of Warren County, and the southeast corner of Polk County.
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