How to Pick the Right Welder Technical School near West Fargo North Dakota
Locating the right welding school near West Fargo ND is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welding trade 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 establish a list of qualifications that your selected 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 a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the West Fargo ND.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of West Fargo ND employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Programs
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the West Fargo ND area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in West Fargo ND for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the West Fargo ND welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify 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 higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of West Fargo ND contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local West Fargo ND welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your West Fargo ND home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Fargo ND, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater West Fargo ND area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in West Fargo ND?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the West Fargo North Dakota area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
West Fargo, North Dakota
West Fargo is a city in Cass County, North Dakota, United States. It is, as of the 2017 Census Estimates, the fifth largest city in the state of North Dakota with a population estimated at 35,708, and it is one of the state's fastest growing cities. West Fargo was founded in 1926. The city is part of the Fargo-Moorhead, ND-MN Metropolitan Statistical Area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.72 square miles (38.12 km2), of which, 14.44 square miles (37.40 km2) is land and 0.28 square miles (0.73 km2) is water.
This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, West Fargo has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program West Fargo ND
Choosing the right welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding School. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training 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 training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour 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, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Fargo ND.