How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Elkhart Indiana
Locating the right welder trade school near Elkhart IN is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen welding school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical 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. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in Elkhart IN.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Indiana trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop 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 complete and are most often offered by Indiana community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder in Elkhart IN.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Elkhart IN employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, 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 Elkhart IN employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by certain Elkhart IN area community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Pick a Welder Technical School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Elkhart IN area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for Elkhart IN schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other Elkhart IN metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who were 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Elkhart IN contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Elkhart IN welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Elkhart IN home. If you do decide 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 the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the Elkhart IN area welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Elkhart IN, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Welding Technician?When prepping to interview for a Welder position, it's advantageous to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask Welder applicants is "What compelled you to pick Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Welder, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining exclusively to Welding, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you must prepare several approaches about how you want to answer them. Since there are several variables that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent Welding Technician and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to develop your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Find the Right Welding Vocational School near Elkhart IN
Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Elkhart IN.
About Elkhart Indiana
Elkhart /ˈɛlkɑːrt/ is a city in Elkhart County, Indiana, United States. The city is located 15 miles (24 km) east of South Bend, Indiana, 110 miles (180 km) east of Chicago, Illinois, and 150 miles (240 km) north of Indianapolis, Indiana. Elkhart has the larger population of the two principal cities of the Elkhart-Goshen Metropolitan Statistical Area, which in turn is part of the South Bend-Elkhart-Mishawaka Combined Statistical Area, in a region commonly known as Michiana. The population was 50,949 at the 2010 census. Despite the shared name, it is not the county seat of Elkhart County; that position is held by the city of Goshen, located about 10 miles (16 km) southeast of Elkhart.
When the Northwest Territory was organized in 1787, the area now known as Elkhart was mainly inhabited by the Ottawa, Chippewa, and Potawatomi Indian tribes. In 1829, the Village of Pulaski was established, consisting of a Post Office, mill, and a few houses on the north side of the St. Joseph River. Two years later, Dr. Havilah Beardsley moved westward from Ohio and purchased one square mile of land from Pierre Moran (a half French, half Native American Potawatomi Chief) in order to establish a rival town named Elkhart. In 1839, the Pulaski Post Office was officially changed to Elkhart.
Elkhart County was founded exclusively by immigrants from New England. These were old stock "Yankee" immigrants, that is to say they were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s. The completion of the Erie Canal caused a surge in New England immigration to what was then the Northwest Territory. The end of the Black Hawk War led to an additional surge of immigration, once again coming almost exclusively from the six New England states as a result of overpopulation combined with land shortages in that region. Some of these later settlers were from upstate New York and had parents who had moved to that region from New England shortly after the Revolutionary War. New Englanders and New England transplants from upstate New York were the vast majority of Elkhart County's inhabitants during the first several decades of its history. These settlers were primarily members of the Congregational Church though due to the Second Great Awakening many of them had converted to Methodism and some had become Baptists before coming to what is now Elkhart County. The Congregational Church subsequently has gone through many divisions and some factions, including those in Elkhart County are now known as the Church of Christ and the United Church of Christ. As a result of this heritage the vast majority of inhabitants in Elkhart County, much like antebellum New England were overwhelmingly in favor of the abolitionist movement during the decades leading up to the Civil War. Correspondingly, many inhabitants of Elkhart County fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. In the late 1880s and early 1890s Irish and German migrants began moving into Elkhart County, most of these later immigrants did not move directly from Ireland and Germany, but rather from other areas in the Midwest where they had already been living, particularly the state of Ohio.
By the late 19th century and early 20th century, musical instrument factories, Miles Medical Company, and numerous mills set up shop and became the base of the economy. In 1934, the first recreational vehicle factory opened in Elkhart. Similar companies followed suit for the remainder of the decade, and the economy continued to grow until the rationing of materials in World War II. After the war, growth picked back up and, by 1949, Elkhart was officially dubbed the "RV Capital of the World."
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