How to Choose a Welding Degree Program near Booneville Arkansas
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Booneville AR is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welding vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Booneville AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Booneville AR employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Booneville AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Booneville AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Booneville AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate 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 a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Booneville AR contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Booneville AR welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Booneville AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training 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 training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Booneville AR, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Booneville AR?
Perhaps you live in the Booneville 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.
Booneville is a city in Logan County, Arkansas, United States and the county seat of the southern district. Located in the Arkansas River Valley between the Ouachita and Ozark Mountains, the city is one of the oldest in western Arkansas. The city's economy was first based upon the railroad and Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium, but has evolved into a diverse economy of small businesses and light industry as the early drivers have disappeared. Booneville's population was 3,990 at the 2010 census.
Booneville supports a community center, a senior citizens center, a community hospital, a municipal airport and new school facilities. Hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and other outdoors activities are readily available in nearby national forests and state parks.
The city was founded in 1828 when Walter Cauthron, an early explorer of the Arkansas Territory, built a log cabin and store along the Petit Jean River. Intending to name the community "Bonneville" for friend Benjamin Bonneville, the name was later changed. Another theory is that the name was to honor Daniel Boone, a friend of the Logan family for which the county is named.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Booneville AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give 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 use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Tech Program Booneville AR
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Booneville AR.