How to Find the Right Welding Certificate Program near Glenwood Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welder trade school near Glenwood AR is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to get 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Glenwood 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, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Glenwood AR employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few 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 kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Technical School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Glenwood AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Glenwood AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships 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 help students find employment and develop associations within the Glenwood AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Glenwood AR contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Glenwood AR welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Glenwood AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Glenwood AR, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Glenwood AR?
Perhaps you live in the Glenwood 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.
Glenwood is a city in Pike and Montgomery counties in Arkansas. The community is located along the Caddo River in the Ouachita Mountains. Glenwood was formed as a boomtown following the development of the Gurdon and Fort Smith Railroad and timber interests in the area. After the establishment of a lumber mill, the community received a post office and incorporated in April 1909. Although the community saw its major employer leave during the Great Depression, the city has again seen rapid growth in recent decades. The city also sees significant tourism related to its scenic position in the Ouachitas and among several recreational lakes.
At the 2000 census, there were 1,751 people, 696 households and 446 families residing in the city. The population density was 630.5 per square mile (243.2/km²). There were 772 housing units at an average density of 278.0/sq mi (107.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.18% White, 1.03% Black or African American, 1.03% Native American, 0.17% Asian, 8.79% from other races, and 0.80% from two or more races. 11.31% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 696 households of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.0% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 32.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.97.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Glenwood AR area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical 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 have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Tech Program Glenwood AR
Picking the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Glenwood AR.