How to Pick a Welding Trade School near Bauxite Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Bauxite AR is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Bauxite AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Bauxite AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Bauxite AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Bauxite AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
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 an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Bauxite AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy 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 high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Bauxite AR employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider 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 similar 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Bauxite AR welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Bauxite AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bauxite AR, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Bauxite AR?
Perhaps you live in the Bauxite 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.
Bauxite is a town in Saline County, Arkansas, United States. Located within Central Arkansas, the town is named for bauxite, the source ore for aluminium, which was found in abundant quantities in the area and became a source of aluminium refining. The town's population boomed during expanded aluminium production during World War II and shrank rapidly with output of the ore. Bauxite was incorporated as a town in 1973. The population was 487 at the 2010 census.
The ore for which the town is named was discovered in the area in the early 1890s and mined by the General Bauxite Company until 1905, when the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, a northeastern aluminium refining company, purchased vast tracts of land in Saline County after learning of the high-quality ore that was being shipped from the area. The company bought out the local producers of the ore, including the General Bauxite Company. Pittsburgh Reduction would go on to incorporate as the Aluminum Company of America, or ALCOA.
Production of the ore rose rapidly, growing from 200,000 short tons (180,000 t) in 1914 during World War I, to 560,000 short tons (510,000 t) by war’s end in 1918. With decreased demand and an expanded source base in South America, Arkansas production levels fluctuated with demand, dropping as low as 60,000 short tons (54,000 t) per annum in the mid-1930s.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Bauxite AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Bauxite AR
Picking the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Bauxite AR.