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Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – Winter Haven FL

How to Select a Welding Training Program near Winter Haven Florida

Winter Haven FL welding school studentLocating the right welder trade school near Winter Haven FL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs

Winter Haven FL welder working on pipingThere are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Winter Haven FL.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Options

Winter Haven FL welder working on poleThere are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Winter Haven FL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with certain metal thicknesses
  • Work with certain types of welds
  • Operate based on contract specifications

As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.

How to Choose a Welding Tech School

Winter Haven FL welder working on carWhen you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Winter Haven FL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.

Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Winter Haven FL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Winter Haven FL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Winter Haven FL contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Winter Haven FL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Winter Haven FL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 desire to work.

Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.

Flexible Class Schedules. 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 flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Winter Haven FL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select 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.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Winter Haven FL?

Perhaps you live in the Winter Haven Florida area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there.  In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.

Winter Haven, Florida

Winter Haven is a city in Polk County, Florida, United States. The population was 33,874 at the 2010 census. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2015 estimates, the city had a population of 37,689, making it the second most populated city in Polk County. It is a principal city of the Lakeland-Winter Haven, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The Timucua and the Calusa were the earliest known inhabitants of the land that would become Winter Haven. Both of these groups were deeply impacted by war and disease from the Spanish conquest of Florida in the early 1500s. The Timucua were particularly affected by the expedition of Hernando de Soto. By the 19th century, both these groups no longer existed. During these expeditions the Spanish explorers claimed the entire peninsula of Florida for the Spanish monarchy

In the 19th century the Creek and the Seminole were known to live and hunt in this area.[7] During the Seminole Wars the Seminole leader, Chipco, and his followers were known to live in the Winter Haven area. Several small skirmishes during the war were fought in and around Winter Haven.[8]

Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs

pipe welder at work in Winter Haven FLWelding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Winter Haven FL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis 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 have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Pick the Best Welding Tech School Winter Haven FL

Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered 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 welder training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Winter Haven FL.

 

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