How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Welches Oregon
Finding the right welding vocational school near Welches OR is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Welches OR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies 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. If needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Welches OR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder vocational school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Welches OR area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most 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 pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive 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 alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like 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 assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Welches OR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Welches OR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who were in 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Welches OR contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, 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. Otherwise, ask a local Welches OR welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Welches OR home. If you do decide 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 particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Welches OR, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Welches OR?
Perhaps you live in the Welches Oregon 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.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Welches OR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Welches OR
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some 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, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Welches OR.