How to Pick a Welder Certification Program near Blytheville Arkansas
Choosing the right welding trade school near Blytheville AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Blytheville AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Blytheville AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Blytheville AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Blytheville AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older 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 Blytheville AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Blytheville AR contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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 Blytheville AR welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Blytheville AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. 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 satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Blytheville AR, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick 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 Blytheville AR?
Perhaps you live in the Blytheville 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.
Blytheville was founded by Methodist clergyman Henry T. Blythe in 1879. It received a post office in 1879, was incorporated in 1889, and became the county seat for the northern half of Mississippi County (Chickasawba District) in 1901. Blytheville received telephone service and electricity in 1903, and natural gas service in 1950.
Forestry was an early industry, spurred by the massive harvesting of lumber needed to rebuild Chicago following the Great Fire of 1871. The lumber industry brought sawmills and a rowdy crowd, and the area was known for its disreputable saloon culture during the 1880s and 1890s.
The cleared forests enabled cotton farming to take hold, encouraged by ongoing levee building and waterway management; the population grew significantly after 1900. On Blytheville’s western edge lies one of the largest cotton gins in North America, and soybeans and rice have also become important crops.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Blytheville AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished 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 would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade School Blytheville AR
Choosing the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Blytheville AR.