How to Find the Right Welding Degree Program near Salem South Dakota
Enrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Salem SD is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered near Salem SD.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by Salem SD area trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by South Dakota community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Salem SD.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Salem SD employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Salem SD employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important 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 must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Salem SD. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Select a Welding Tech School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Salem SD area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Salem SD welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other Salem SD metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the local welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Salem SD contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm 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 using in the field. 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 Salem SD welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Salem SD home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate 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 needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Salem SD, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Being a Welder in Salem SD
Salem, South Dakota
Salem was founded in 1880 and named after the postmaster's hometown of Salem, Massachusetts. Salem at one time was called Melas ('Melas' is Salem spelled backwards). This was to prevent confusion with the now non-existent community of Salena, South Dakota.
As of the census of 2010, there were 1,347 people, 567 households, and 362 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,086.3 inhabitants per square mile (419.4/km2). There were 667 housing units at an average density of 537.9 per square mile (207.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 98.8% White, 0.1% African American, 0.1% Native American, 0.6% from other races, and 0.4% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.
There were 567 households of which 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.3% were married couples living together, 7.2% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.2% were non-families. 33.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.27 and the average family size was 2.90.
The median age in the city was 44.3 years. 24.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 4% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.4% were from 25 to 44; 23.8% were from 45 to 64; and 25.4% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.6% male and 51.4% female.
Pick the Right Welding Trade School Salem SD
Picking the right welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Salem SD.