How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Weston Oregon
Selecting the right welder technical school near Weston OR is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous 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 pick the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational 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 Programs
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Weston OR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Weston OR 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). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Trade School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Weston OR area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of 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 need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Weston OR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Weston OR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Weston OR contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Weston OR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Weston OR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current 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 in the evenings or on weekends near Weston OR, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Weston OR?
Perhaps you live in the Weston 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Weston OR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Vocational Program Weston OR
Selecting the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Weston OR.