How to Choose a Welding Certification Program near Benton Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Benton 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Benton AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential 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 professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Benton AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Vocational School
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Benton AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Benton AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Benton AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Benton AR employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Benton AR welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Benton AR home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Benton AR, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Benton AR?
Perhaps you live in the Benton 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.
Benton is a city in and the county seat of Saline County, Arkansas, United States and a suburb of Little Rock. It was established in 1837. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a population of 30,681. In 2017 the population was estimated at 35,789. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city of Benton, first settled in 1833 and named after Missouri Senator Thomas Hart Benton, was formally chartered in 1836 when Arkansas became a state.
As of the census of 2000, there were 21,906 people, 8,713 households, and 6,186 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,221.2 people per square mile (471.5/km²). There were 9,315 housing units at an average density of 519.3 per square mile (200.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.81% White, 4.46% Black or African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.56% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.19% from two or more races. 1.90% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 8,713 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.9% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.0% were non-families. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 2.95.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Benton AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Benton AR
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Benton AR.