How to Select a Welder Technical School near Cabot Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Cabot AR is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade 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. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Cabot AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Cabot 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 wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Vocational Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Cabot AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Cabot AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Cabot AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Cabot AR contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice 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 modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Cabot AR welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Cabot AR home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Cabot AR, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Cabot AR?
Perhaps you live in the Cabot 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.
Cabot is the largest city in Lonoke County, Arkansas, United States and a suburb of Little Rock. According to 2010 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 25,797, ranking it as the state's 20th largest city, behind Paragould. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area. Cabot has the third highest median household income in Arkansas (after Maumelle and White Hall).
Before the city of Cabot existed, an 1862 typhoid epidemic took the lives of about 1500 Confederate soldiers previously under Allison Nelson who were camped in the hills surrounding Cabot and nearby Austin, Arkansas. Four hundred twenty-eight poorly marked graves were exhumed in 1905 by a group of Confederate veterans and moved to a new site at Camp Nelson Confederate Cemetery located in Cabot on Rye Drive, just off Cherry Road between Campground and Mount Carmel Roads. Marble gravestones were placed over each grave and a large marble obelisk was erected to honor the dead. In 1982, a group of volunteers from Cabot began maintaining the cemetery, which had fallen into disrepair.
The city of Cabot began as a small settlement at a refueling station on the Cairo & Fulton Railroad. The settlement first appeared in 1873 and is thought to have been named after a railroad surveyor. First Baptist Church was established in 1876 and the Bank of Cabot (later merged into Centennial Bank) was founded in 1903. The city of Cabot was officially incorporated November 9, 1891 as the 139th city in Arkansas.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Cabot AR area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin 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. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Vocational School Cabot AR
Selecting the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some 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 right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Cabot AR.