How to Choose a Welding Degree Program near Walters Oklahoma
Finding the right welder school near Walters OK is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Walters OK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced 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 extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make 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 providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Walters OK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Walters OK area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance 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 mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as 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 organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Walters OK 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 Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Walters OK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Walters OK employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Walters OK welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Walters OK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Walters OK, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Walters OK?
Perhaps you live in the Walters 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.
Walters is a town in Cotton County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 2,551 at the 2010 census. The city, nestled in between twin creeks, is the county seat of Cotton County. The city's motto is "Small town; Big heart."
The land that is present-day Oklahoma was first settled by prehistoric American Indians including the Clovis 11500 BCE, Folsom 10600 BCE and Plainview 10000 BCE cultures. Western explorers came to the region in the 16th century, with Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado visiting in 1541. Most of the region during this time was settled by the Wichita and Caddo peoples. Around the 1700s, two tribes from the North, the Comanches and Kiowas, migrated to the Oklahoma and Texas region.
For most of the 18th century, the Oklahoma region was under French control as part of Louisiana. In 1803, the Louisiana Purchase by Thomas Jefferson brought the area under United States control. In 1830, Congress passed the Indian Removal Act, which removed American Indian tribes and relocated them to Indian Territory. The southern part of the territory was originally assigned to the Choctaw and Chickasaw, until the 1867 Medicine Lodge Treaty allotted the southwest portion of the Choctaw and Chickasaw’s lands to the Comanche, Kiowa, and Apache.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Walters OK area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade Program Walters OK
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor 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 proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Walters OK.