How to Select the Right Welder Certificate Program near Okolona Mississippi
Choosing the ideal welding technical school near Okolona MS is an important first step to starting 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Okolona MS.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Okolona MS employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Okolona MS area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected 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 stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Okolona MS for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships 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 Okolona MS welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Okolona MS contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Okolona MS welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Okolona MS home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Okolona MS, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Okolona MS area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Okolona MS?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Okolona Mississippi area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Okolona is a city in and one of the two county seats of Chickasaw County, Mississippi, United States. It is located near the eastern border of the county. The population was 2,692 at the 2010 census.
Okolona was named as Rose Hill in 1845 early in its settlement, but residents later discovered that another location had this name. When a US post office was established here in 1850, a new name was needed to avoid confusion in mail delivery. According to the Okolona Area Chamber of Commerce, Colonel Josiah N. Walton, postmaster of nearby Aberdeen, remembered an encounter with a Chickasaw warrior years earlier. The man's name was Oka-laua, meaning peaceful, yellow, or blue water. Walton renamed Rose Hill as Okolona in his honor.
Due to the destruction brought to the area by the Civil War, few structures from the antebellum period remain. The Elliot Donaldson House, constructed in 1850, survives and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. A few other homes have also survived.
Choose the Best Welding Technical Program Okolona MS
Selecting the right welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Education For Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things 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 assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Okolona MS.