How to Select the Best Welder Training Program near West Lafayette Indiana
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near West Lafayette IN is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
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Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the West Lafayette IN area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing 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 future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose 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.
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Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous West Lafayette IN employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just 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
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the West Lafayette IN area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program 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 may need to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in West Lafayette IN for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. 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 should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the West Lafayette IN welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of West Lafayette IN employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local West Lafayette IN welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your West Lafayette IN home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might 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 provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near West Lafayette IN, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Lafayette IN 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 handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Learn To Weld West Lafayette IN
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Learn To Weld and wanted more information on the topic Underwater Welding Degree. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform 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 serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in West Lafayette IN.
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West Lafayette, Indiana
West Lafayette (/ˌlɑːfiːˈɛt, ˌlæf-/) is a city in Wabash Township, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, United States, about 65 miles (105 km) northwest of the state capital of Indianapolis and 103 miles (166 km) southeast of Chicago. West Lafayette is directly across the Wabash River from its sister city, Lafayette. As of the 2016 census estimate, its population was 45,872. It is the most densely populated city in Indiana and is home to Purdue University.
Augustus Wylie laid out a town in 1836 in the Wabash River floodplain south of the present Levee. Due to regular flooding of the site, Wylie's town was never built. The present city was formed in 1888 by the merger of the adjacent suburban towns of Chauncey, Oakwood, and Kingston, located on a bluff across the Wabash River from Lafayette, Indiana. The three towns had been small suburban villages which were directly adjacent to one another. Kingston was laid out in 1855 by Jesse B. Lutz. Chauncey was platted in 1860 by the Chauncey family of Philadelphia, wealthy land speculators. Chauncey and Kingston formed a municipal government in 1866 which selected the name "Chauncey".
The new town of Chauncey remained a small suburban village until Purdue University opened in 1869. In 1871 Chauncey voted to be annexed by Lafayette because it was unable to provide the infrastructure (such as improved streets, waterworks, police and fire protection). Lafayette voted against annexing Chauncey because of the high cost of the many improvements that the village lacked. In May 1888, the town of Chauncey voted to change its name to West Lafayette after a petition signed by 152 electors. By that time, the growth of the university was fueling the growth of the little town. The address of Purdue University was given as "Lafayette, Indiana" until well into the twentieth century. West Lafayette never gained a railroad depot and lagged several years behind Lafayette in the establishment of municipal infrastructure and services. Today, West Lafayette has established itself as a separate city, with independent services and unique neighborhoods distinct from those of its sister city, Lafayette.