Interviews with Tulsa Welding School Graduates

I had a chance to Interview a few recent graduates of Tulsa Welding School Jacksonville campus. 

When I visit welding schools, it brings back memories.

Here is my story.

I got into welding as a fluke.

When I graduated from High School, I enrolled in a small community college taking the normal core classes like English 101, canoeing and sailing, you know, normal "spin your wheels" type stuff.

I absolutely felt like a fish out of water. I guess college just wasn't for me.

I thought I wanted to be an auto mechanic. But there was a long waiting list at the local vo-tech school.

As fate would have it, I moved across the street from the welding instructor at the local vo-tech school.

He told me " I cant help you with getting into auto mechanics, but if you are interested in welding, we can get you enrolled".

I was ready to do something with my hands so I said "lets do it".

I still remember how I felt on day one of welding school.

I saw improvement on the first day, I felt progress... like I was heading toward something. I leaned into it.

Maybe I was just too  immature for college. All I know is while I wasn't willing to put in the work in college,  I was more than willing to put in the work to learn how to weld.  

In general, welding curriculum are designed to be a series of incrementally more difficult tasks. And that is a formula for building confidence in young men and women.

After about 5 months of welding school, during a winter break, I took a short term job that involved sitting on a 5 gallon bucket burning 3/16" 11018 rods all day.

While that low paying job was not my cup of tea, it did teach me some good stick welding techniques and I got more literal "seat time" than I could have managed in school.

In addition to all the seat time, It was a lesson that all welding jobs are not crated equal. I knew that if I finished welding school and could pass a 6g pipe test, I would make much more money and pipe welding  would also be much more enjoyable.

So that is just exactly what I did.  I resumed my welding classes and in a few months was able to pass a 6g test and go on to work as a  pipe welder.

Fast forward about 13 years.

After working as a certified pipe welder at several nuclear plants, paper mills, and fab shops, I made a career change.

I didn't leave welding, I just changed industries.

In 1990 I left pipe welding and took a job as a welder at Delta Air Lines Techops division. The Technical Operations is where aircraft and engine parts are repaired.

During a 21 year career with Delta, I was fortunate enought to advance to welding instructor/certifier, then metallurgical lab technician, and then program manager of welding training and certification.

I got my CWI credentials while working as an instructor/certifier at Delta and later on passed the SCWI test as well.

In 2007, I started and shortly after that I started the youtube channel weldingtipsandtricks.

I said all that to say this:

I have enjoyed a very rewarding and diverse welding career and now I enjoy giving back a little bit.

So now I make at least one welding video per week and post it on YouTube.

Peace out,

Jody Collier



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