How to Pick a Welding Training Program near Decatur Arkansas
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Decatur AR is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when examining welding technical 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Decatur AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Decatur AR employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Trade School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Decatur AR area. That’s why it’s important 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 qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Decatur AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Decatur AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Decatur AR contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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 Decatur AR welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Decatur AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional 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 hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur AR, verify that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Decatur AR?
Perhaps you live in the Decatur 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.
Decatur is a city, in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 1,699 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers, AR-MO Metropolitan Statistical Area. This town is named after Commodore Stephen Decatur, Jr.
Decatur is located in western Benton County at 36°20′15″N 94°27′24″W / 36.33750°N 94.45667°W / 36.33750; -94.45667 (36.337541, -94.456721).Arkansas Highway 59 passes through the city, leading north 6 miles (10 km) to Gravette and 13 miles (21 km) to the Missouri border, and south 13 miles (21 km) to Siloam Springs. Arkansas Highway 102 leads east 16 miles (26 km) to Bentonville and west 10 miles (16 km) to the Oklahoma border.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Decatur has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.5 km2) is land and 0.039 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.21%, is water.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Decatur AR area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Decatur AR
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Decatur AR.