How to Pick a Welder Degree Program near Fairfield Bay Arkansas
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Fairfield Bay AR is an essential first step to beginning 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Fairfield Bay AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Fairfield Bay AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Trade School
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Fairfield Bay AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types 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, for example 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Fairfield Bay AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Fairfield Bay AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Fairfield Bay AR employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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 Fairfield Bay AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Fairfield Bay AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairfield Bay AR, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Fairfield Bay AR?
Perhaps you live in the Fairfield Bay 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.
Fairfield Bay, Arkansas
Fairfield Bay is a city in Cleburne and Van Buren counties in the northern part of the U.S. state of Arkansas. The population was 2,338 at the 2010 census. The population in its portion in Van Buren County, which accounts for the bulk of the city limits, made the city the most populous in Van Buren County as of the 2000 census, but with a slight decline in population, lost the distinction to Clinton as of 2010.
Fairfield Bay is located in eastern Van Buren County at 35°36′07″N 92°15′51″W / 35.602031°N 92.264164°W / 35.602031; -92.264164, extending eastward into Cleburne County. It is located on hills overlooking the northern shore of Greers Ferry Lake, a reservoir on the Little Red River, a tributary of the White River which flows to the Mississippi.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 15.3 square miles (39.7 km2), of which 15.3 square miles (39.5 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 0.36%, is water.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Fairfield Bay AR area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Fairfield Bay AR
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk 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 training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Fairfield Bay AR.