How to Pick a Welding Training Program near Clinton Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Clinton AR is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish 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 Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Clinton AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly 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 two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Clinton AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Clinton AR area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Clinton AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Clinton AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Clinton AR contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three 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 modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Clinton AR welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Clinton AR home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Clinton AR, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose 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 responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Clinton AR?
Perhaps you live in the Clinton 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.
Clinton is the county seat of Van Buren County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,602 at the 2010 census, making it the most populous city in the county (reclaiming the distinction from the resort community of Fairfield Bay). The city was named for DeWitt Clinton, the New York governor who built the Erie Canal; he had also been a U.S. Senator from New York.
The City of Clinton is situated on the shore of the Archey Fork, a tributary of the Upper Little Red River which flows into Greers Ferry Lake. This body of water is known for its rich and diverse fish habitat and recreational uses. A channelization project in 1982 following a major flood event has recently been re-engineered by The Nature Conservancy in cooperation with city officials and corporate sponsors. The multi-phase restoration project has witnessed the installation of a cantilevered stream bed, bank stabilization, and habitat regeneration. The restoration is now part of the city's historic downtown park and trail system.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,283 people, 1,007 households, and 626 families residing in the city. The population density was 200.3 people per square mile (77.3/km²). There were 1,123 housing units at an average density of 98.5 per square mile (38.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.71% White, 0.04% Black or African American, 0.74% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 1.31% from other races, and 2.06% from two or more races. 2.67% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Clinton AR area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Trade School Clinton AR
Picking the best welder 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 things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Clinton AR.