How to Pick a Welding Degree Program near Stringtown Oklahoma
Enrolling in the right welding school near Stringtown OK is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to obtain 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 available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered near Stringtown OK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by Stringtown OK area technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely 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 complete and are most often offered by Oklahoma community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder in Stringtown OK.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Stringtown OK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Stringtown OK employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Stringtown OK. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Stringtown OK area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick 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 picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the Stringtown OK welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic 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 instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate 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. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other Stringtown OK metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Stringtown OK contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Stringtown OK welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Stringtown OK home. If you do choose to enroll in 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. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. 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, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Stringtown OK, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Being a Welder in Stringtown OK
Stringtown is a town in Atoka County, Oklahoma, United States. The population was 410 at the 2010 census, an increase of 3.5 percent from 396 at the 2000 census. It is the second largest town in Atoka County.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.7 square miles (12.2 km2), of which 4.7 square miles (12.1 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 1.24%, is water.
Originally named Springtown, for the natural springs that flow out of the hills the town is built upon, the current name is believed to be a corruption. Once home to a bank, theater and pub, the town has declined over the years, both economically and in population. In the past five years, small population growth and the addition of a new cafe have brought new life to the town. Annually in September, the Good Ole Days Festival celebrates the town's past with parade, cookout, and concert.
On August 5, 1932, while Bonnie Parker was visiting her mother, Clyde Barrow and two associates were drinking alcohol at a dance in Stringtown (illegal under Prohibition). When they were approached by Sheriff C. G. Maxwell and his deputy, Clyde opened fire, killing deputy Eugene C. Moore. That was the first killing of a lawman by what was later known as the Barrow Gang, a total which would eventually amount to nine slain officers.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School Stringtown OK
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered 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 training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Stringtown OK.