How to Select a Welder Certification Class near Webbers Falls Oklahoma
Locating the ideal welding school near Webbers Falls OK is an essential first step to starting 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 fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Webbers Falls OK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Webbers Falls OK employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Webbers Falls OK area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on 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 need to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard 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 instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Webbers Falls OK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Webbers Falls OK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Webbers Falls OK employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Webbers Falls OK welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Webbers Falls OK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the trainers and ask 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 employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Webbers Falls OK, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Webbers Falls OK?
Perhaps you live in the Webbers Falls Oklahoma 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.
Webbers Falls, Oklahoma
The name comes from a 7-foot falls in the Arkansas River [a] named in honor of Walter Webber, a Cherokee chief who established a trading post here before 1818. He was a leader among the Western Cherokee, also called "Old Settlers." They had a treaty with the United States government by 1828, which helped settle some conflicts with the Osage people, who had been forced to give up land to the Cherokee.
Webber had settled here with some of the first Cherokee to go to Indian Territory west of the Mississippi River; it was then considered part of Arkansas Territory. He opened a trading post and a portage service, as well as building a house. Of mixed-race Cherokee-European descent, Webber was married to a full-blood Cherokee. They had adopted many American ways and outfitted their house in European-American style. When English-speaking visitors came, one of their African-American slaves and domestic servants would translate. Webber also built a salt works, leasing the land for the latter from the Cherokee government, which held it communally as a tribe. In the early years when Webber was in the territory, there was considerable conflict with the Osage people, who were forced by the United States government to give up some of their territory to the Cherokee, in a Treaty of 1828.
Webber was among the early leaders of the Cherokee in this area, one of their representatives when meeting with US agents and going to Washington, DC for meetings. The Western Cherokee resisted sharing their territory with immigrants to be resettled from the Southeast, as the US government proposed in 1834. They finally agreed that year, in exchange for an increased amount of land and annuities.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Webbers Falls OK area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their training and education. 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 done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational Program Webbers Falls OK
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Webbers Falls OK.