How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Altheimer Arkansas
Finding the right welder vocational school near Altheimer AR is an essential first step to launching your new occupation 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 alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 programs 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 Altheimer AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach 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 finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Altheimer AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder technical school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Tech Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Altheimer AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Altheimer AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Altheimer AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Altheimer AR employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Altheimer AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Altheimer AR home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Altheimer AR, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Altheimer AR?
Perhaps you live in the Altheimer Arkansas 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.
Altheimer is a city in Plum Bayou Township, Jefferson County, Arkansas. It is situated on the Union Pacific Railway, 11 miles (18 km) northeast of Pine Bluff. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 984, down from 1,192 at the 2000 census. As of 2016 the estimated population was 869.
Altheimer is part of the Timberlands Region, an area rich in natural resources that was discovered by pioneers from the eastern states in the early 19th century. Deer hunting, bass fishing, timber and oil are plentiful in this area.
Altheimer is in northeastern Jefferson County, 14 miles (23 km) northeast of Pine Bluff, the county seat. U.S. Route 63/79 runs along the northwestern edge of the city, leading southwest to Pine Bluff and northeast 11 miles (18 km) to Humphrey. Little Rock, the state capital, is 50 miles (80 km) to the northwest by road.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Altheimer AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Altheimer AR
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Altheimer AR.