How to Choose a Welder Certification Program near West Lafayette Indiana
Enrolling in the right welder technical school near West Lafayette IN is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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 prevalent welding programs available in West Lafayette IN.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by Indiana trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder in West Lafayette IN.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous West Lafayette IN employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to West Lafayette IN employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding programs offered by specific West Lafayette IN area community colleges and trade schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Pick a Welding Trade School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the West Lafayette IN area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds 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 confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for West Lafayette IN non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other West Lafayette IN metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of West Lafayette IN employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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. If not, ask a local West Lafayette IN welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your West Lafayette IN home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the West Lafayette IN area welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Lafayette IN, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Welding Professional?When getting ready to interview for a Welder job, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask Welder candidates is "What drove you to decide on Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Welding Tech, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Welding, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should prepare several ideas about how you want to address them. Considering there are so many factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Welder and the best candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize a response, but jot down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational Program near West Lafayette IN
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Lafayette IN.
About West Lafayette Indiana
West Lafayette, Indiana
West Lafayette /ˌwɛst ˌlɑːfiˈɛt/ 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.
In November 2013, the City of West Lafayette approved an annexation that placed much of the Purdue University academic campus and residence hall system within the official boundaries of the municipality for the first time. This expansion also included a large section of the US Highway 231 corridor that was previously part of unincorporated Tippecanoe County.
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