How to Pick the Right Welding Training Program near Ringling Montana
Finding the right welder school near Ringling MT is an essential first step to starting 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Ringling MT area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Ringling MT employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types 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, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Ringling MT area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example 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 recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Ringling MT for non-accredited schools. Finally, 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 welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Ringling MT 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 important that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Ringling MT employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Ringling MT welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Ringling MT home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ringling MT, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, 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 responsibilities.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Ringling MT area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, 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 accomplished 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 perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Underwater Welding Classes Ringling MT
Choosing the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Underwater Welding Classes and wanted more information on the topic Welding Underwater Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Ringling MT.
Find More Welding Locations in Montana
Ron Arthun is a Republican member of the Montana Legislature. He was elected for Senate District 31, representing the Wilsall, Montana area, in 2010. Arthun graduated from Montana State University with an agriculture degree. Besides maintaining a ranch, Arthun performs with the Ringling 5 travelling group.