How to Pick the Right Welding Trade School near Potlatch Idaho
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Potlatch ID is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Potlatch ID.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach 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 community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Potlatch ID employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Potlatch ID area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Potlatch ID for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 Potlatch ID welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Potlatch ID employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over 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 using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Potlatch ID welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Potlatch ID home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree 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 needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Potlatch ID, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Potlatch ID area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant 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 better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Potlatch ID?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Potlatch Idaho area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Potlatch is a city in the northwest United States, located in north central Idaho in Latah County, about six miles (10 km) east of the border with Washington. On the Palouse north of Moscow, it is served by State Highway 6, and bordered on the northeast by the small community of Onaway. The population of Potlatch was 804 at the 2010 census.
Potlatch was founded 113 years ago in 1905 as a company town by the Potlatch Corporation. The townsite was chosen because of proximity to the company's large holdings of Western White Pine on the Palouse River. Potlatch was chosen as the mill site; at the time, it was one of the largest sawmills in the U.S. and was the largest white pine sawmill in the world.
Most of Potlatch was built in 1906 and 1907. A total of 143 houses were built in 1906, with 58 more built the following year; other building constructed during that period include boarding houses, an ice house, a Catholic church, hotel, school, and general store.
Choose the Best Welding Tech School Potlatch ID
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding And Fabrication Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Potlatch ID.