How to Find the Best Welding Certification Class near Lehigh Iowa
Locating the right welder trade school near Lehigh IA is an essential first step to beginning your new career 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 fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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.
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Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Lehigh IA area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
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Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Lehigh IA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. 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
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Lehigh IA area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, such as 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 help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Lehigh IA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships 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 assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Lehigh IA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Lehigh IA employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Lehigh IA welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Lehigh IA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lehigh IA, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Lehigh IA area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Where to Find Accredited Welding Training Lehigh IA
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Where to Find Accredited Welding Training and wanted more information on the topic Where to Find Weekend Welding Training. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Lehigh IA.
Other Iowa Welder Locations
Located in a valley, Lehigh is divided in two by the Des Moines River, unusual for such a small town. Originally the two halves of Lehigh were two separate towns. While the town on the west side of the River was always called Lehigh, the east town was called Slabtown, and a piece of history marks the east side's roots––a sign that hangs over the playground with the words "Slabtown Traders," perhaps alluding to the flea market that occurs there every summer during Lehigh River Days. The "Slabtown Traders" sign was blown over by a gust of wind in the summer of 2010. It survived several floods while being located on River St. Lehigh was surrounded by coal mines until the early 20th century and home to a large clay sewer pipe factory until the 1980s. Dolliver State Park, Brushy Creek State Recreation Area and Woodman Hollow State Preserve are located within a few miles of the town.
Lehigh's first settlers, a Mr. Reed and Mr. Wright, set up a steam sawmill on the site in 1855. Originally, the town was named Slabtown because slabs, scrap from the mill, were used in construction. By 1870, there was a Methodist church and a school, and Oliver Tyson had purchased the mill and expanded it, adding a flour mill. Soon after this, Tyson opened a store. The town was later renamed Lehigh, comparing the local coal veins to those of Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley.
In 1871, W. C. Wilson of Webster City opened a coal mine in Lehigh and formed the Crooked Creek Railroad and Coal Company. The company built a 3-foot gauge rail line from Judd, on the Illinois Central Railroad 8.5 miles south to the mines, including a 370-foot wooden truss bridge across the Des Moines River. The line was later extended to Webster City. By 1894, the company had opened 5 mines, all using longwall mining. The Webster Coal and Land Company operated a mine near Lehigh from 1899 to 1902.