How to Select the Right Welder Technical School near Sidney Nebraska
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Sidney NE is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Sidney NE.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Sidney NE employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Sidney NE area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Sidney NE 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 also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Sidney NE welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Sidney NE contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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 Sidney NE welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Sidney NE home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm 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 Sidney NE, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Sidney NE area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done 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 want to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Sidney NE?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Sidney Nebraska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
The city was named for Sidney Dillon, president of the Union Pacific Railroad. It was founded in 1867 by the Union Pacific and grew up around the military base of Fort Sidney (also known as Sidney Barracks), where soldiers were stationed to guard the transcontinental railroad from potential Indian attacks.
The town became the southern terminus of the Sidney Black Hills Stage Road which used Clarke's Bridge (near Bridgeport, Nebraska) to allow military and civilian traffic to reach Fort Robinson, Red Cloud Agency, Spotted Tail Agency, Custer, South Dakota, and Deadwood, South Dakota in the late 1870s and 1880s.
Sidney is toward the western edge of the midwestern wheat-growing region. West of the city, the land is increasingly used for cattle ranching. Sidney is located along Lodgepole Creek, which is along present-day Interstate 80.
Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational School Sidney NE
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Top Welding Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Sidney NE.