How to Choose a Welding Certification Class near Fayetteville Arkansas
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Fayetteville AR is an important first step to launching 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 narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Fayetteville 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, designed 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Fayetteville AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things 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
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Fayetteville AR area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely 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 earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Fayetteville AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Fayetteville AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Fayetteville AR contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder 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 up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Fayetteville AR welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Fayetteville AR home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the trainers 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 working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fayetteville AR, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Fayetteville AR?
Perhaps you live in the Fayetteville 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.
Fayetteville is the third-largest city in Arkansas and county seat of Washington County. The city is centrally located within the county and has been home of the University of Arkansas since the institution's founding in 1871. Fayetteville is on the outskirts of the Boston Mountains, deep within the Ozarks. Known as Washington until 1829, the city was named after Fayetteville, Tennessee, from which many of the settlers had come. It was incorporated on November 3, 1836 and was rechartered in 1867. The four-county Northwest Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area is ranked 105th in terms of population in the United States with 463,204 in 2010 according to the United States Census Bureau. The city had a population of 73,580 at the 2010 Census.
Fayetteville is home to the University of Arkansas, the state's largest university. When classes are in session, thousands of students on campus dramatically change the city's demographics. Thousands of Arkansas Razorbacks alumni and fans travel to Fayetteville to attend football, basketball, and baseball games. The University's men's track and field program has won 41 national championships to date. Fayetteville was named the third best place to live in the United States in the 2016 U.S. News Best Places To Live Rankings, and one of the best places to retire in the South.Forbes also ranked Fayetteville as the 24th-best city for business and careers in 2016. Lonely Planet named Fayetteville among its top 20 places to visit in the South in 2016. The city hosts the Walmart Shareholders Meetings each year at the Bud Walton Arena.
In 1828, George McGarrah settled at Big Spring with his family on the modern day corner of Spring and Willow, founding the town of Washington, and starting work on the courthouse. On October 17, Washington County was established, Washington chosen as the county seat. The Washington Courthouse was finished in 1829, and also contained the post office. Later in the year Postmaster Larkin Newton changed the name to the Fayetteville Courthouse, to avoid confusing with Washington, Hempstead County. Two councilmen selected to name the city were from Fayetteville, Tennessee, which was itself named for Fayetteville, North Carolina (where some of its earliest residents had lived before moving to Tennessee). That original Fayetteville was named for General Lafayette, a French general who helped the colonies gain independence in the American Revolutionary War.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Fayetteville AR area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need 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 perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade School Fayetteville AR
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Fayetteville AR.