How to Choose the Right Welder Degree Program near Topeka Kansas
Choosing the right welder school near Topeka KS is an important first step to starting 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 sensible 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 Classes
There are a number of options available to receive 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Topeka KS.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced 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 extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Topeka KS employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Programs
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Topeka KS area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Topeka KS for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place 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 placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Topeka KS welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Topeka KS contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Topeka KS welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Topeka KS home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Topeka KS, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Topeka KS area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant 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 need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced 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 extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Topeka KS?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Topeka Kansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Topeka (/toʊˈpiːkə/;Kansa: Tó Pee Kuh) is the capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the seat of Shawnee County. It is situated along the Kansas River in the central part of Shawnee County, in northeast Kansas, in the Central United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 127,473. The Topeka Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes Shawnee, Jackson, Jefferson, Osage, and Wabaunsee counties, had a population of 233,870 in the 2010 census.
The name Topeka is a Kansa-Osage sentence that means "place where we dug potatoes", or "a good place to dig potatoes". As a placename, Topeka was first recorded in 1826 as the Kansa name for what is now called the Kansas River. Topeka's founders chose the name in 1855 because it "was novel, of Indian origin and euphonious of sound." The mixed-blood Kansa Native American, Joseph James, called Jojim, is credited with suggesting the name of Topeka. The city, laid out in 1854, was one of the Free-State towns founded by Eastern antislavery men immediately after the passage of the Kansas–Nebraska Bill. In 1857, Topeka was chartered as a city.
The city is well known for the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, which overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson and declared racial segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. Three ships of the U.S. Navy have been named USS Topeka after the city.
Choose the Right Welding Trade Program Topeka KS
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Engineer Course. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Topeka KS.