How to Choose the Right Welder Certification Course near Weatherford Oklahoma
Selecting the ideal welder school near Weatherford OK is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Weatherford OK area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Weatherford OK employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. 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 kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds 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, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Weatherford OK area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Weatherford OK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 Weatherford OK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Weatherford OK contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Weatherford OK welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Weatherford 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 the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Weatherford OK, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm 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 work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Weatherford OK area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose Welding Certification Training near Weatherford OK
Choosing the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in How to Choose Welding Certification Training near and wanted more information on the topic Bachelor’s Degree In Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Weatherford OK.
Find More Welding Locations in Oklahoma
Weatherford is located at 35°32′18″N 98°41′14″W / 35.53833°N 98.68722°W / 35.53833; -98.68722 (35.5384097, -98.6872467). The elevation is 1,634 feet (498 m). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.44 square miles (16.7 km2).
Situated on land made available to homesteaders as part of the Cheyenne-Arapaho Opening on April 19, 1892, Weatherford was incorporated on August 3, 1898, on a townsite location chosen by banking and civic leader Beeks Erick. By 1900, the town's population was 1,017. The town's original post office was located approximately two miles north of town, on William John and Lorinda Powell Weatherford's homestead. Lorinda Weatherford served as its postmaster and namesake. In its early years, farming and ranching provided the major economic base, with corn, cotton, and maize the major crops. Additionally, a brick plant, a cement plant, and a broom factory provided jobs as well as supplies for early residents.
As of the census of 2015, there were 12,126 people, 3,991 households, and 2,187 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,699.3 people per square mile (656.3/km²). There were 4,468 housing units at an average density of 770.1 per square mile (297.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 73.7% White, 4.9% African American, 2.3% Native American, 1.4% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.76% from other races, and 6.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.8% of the population.