How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Bentonville Arkansas
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Bentonville AR is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 examine 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 receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Bentonville AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop 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 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Bentonville AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Tech School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Bentonville AR area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds 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 verify that the program you choose 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 a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Bentonville AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Bentonville AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Bentonville AR employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Bentonville AR welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Bentonville AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bentonville AR, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Bentonville AR?
Perhaps you live in the Bentonville 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.
Bentonville is the ninth-largest city in Arkansas, United States and the county seat of Benton County. The city is centrally located in the county with Rogers adjacent to the east. The city is the birthplace and world headquarters of Walmart, the world's largest retailer. It is one of the four main cities in the four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is ranked 109th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 residents in 2010, according to the United States Census Bureau. The city itself had a population of 35,301 at the 2010 Census, with an estimated population of 49,298 in 2017.
The area now known as Bentonville's first known use by humans was as hunting grounds by the Osage Nation who lived in Missouri. The Osage would leave their settlements to hunt in present-day Benton County for months at a time before returning to their families. White settlers first inhabited the area around 1837 and named their settlement "Osage". By this time, the Osage had ceased using the area for hunting, and the white settlers began to establish farms. Upon establishment of Benton County on September 30, 1836, Osage was deemed a suitable site for the county seat, and the town square was established as the home of county government the following year. Osage was renamed Bentonville in honor of Thomas Hart Benton, a senator from Missouri who strongly supported Arkansas statehood.
Two years after Arkansas received statehood in 1836, thousands of Cherokee people from Georgia passed through Benton County as part of the Trail of Tears route to the Indian Territory in what is now Oklahoma. Although no Civil War battles were fought inside Bentonville, the city was occupied by both armies and saw almost all of its buildings burned, either by opposing armies or guerrilla outlaws. Bentonville was a staging point for the Confederate army prior to the Battle of Pea Ridge, fought about 12 miles (19 km) northeast of town, and the town saw a brief skirmish just prior to the battle. The city began to rebuild about a decade after incorporation on April 3, 1873, with many of these Reconstruction Era buildings today serving as the oldest structures in Bentonville.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Bentonville AR area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Trade School Bentonville AR
Choosing the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ 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 offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Bentonville AR.