How to Pick a Welder Technical School near Ash Flat Arkansas
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Ash Flat AR is an important first step to starting 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Ash Flat AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Ash Flat AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally 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 location and make sure that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Technical School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Ash Flat AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Ash Flat AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Ash Flat AR 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 important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Ash Flat AR contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using 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 Ash Flat AR welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Ash Flat AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional 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 important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure 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 Ash Flat AR, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ash Flat AR?
Perhaps you live in the Ash Flat 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.
Ash Flat, Arkansas
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 1,082 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 96.8% White, 0.5% Black, 0.5% Native American and 1.5% from two or more races. 0.8% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 977 people, 430 households, and 233 families residing in the city. The population density was 175.7 people per square mile (67.8/km²). There were 485 housing units at an average density of 87.2 per square mile (33.7/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.57% White, 0.41% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, and 0.82% from two or more races. 0.72% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 430 households out of which 24.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.1% were married couples living together, 10.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 45.8% were non-families. 41.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 27.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.09 and the average family size was 2.91.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Ash Flat AR area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Technical Program Ash Flat AR
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor 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, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Ash Flat AR.