How to Pick a Welder Technical School near Greenwood Arkansas
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Greenwood AR is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Greenwood AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Greenwood AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some 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 various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way 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 confirm that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Greenwood AR area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider 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 school you decide on is going to furnish the training 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 vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Greenwood AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Greenwood AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Greenwood AR employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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. If not, ask a local Greenwood AR welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Greenwood AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Greenwood AR, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Greenwood AR?
Perhaps you live in the Greenwood 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.
Greenwood is a city in and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States. It is the fifth largest municipality in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 8,952 according to the 2010 US Census. According to estimates based on the most recent census, the population of Greenwood in 2017 was 9,405.
Greenwood was founded in 1851 when its location was selected for the first county seat of Sebastian County. The town was named for Judge Alfred Burton Greenwood. Judge Greenwood had been elected the previous year to serve as Circuit Judge over ten Northwest Arkansas counties. The first court house was a log structure, replaced in 1865 by a frame court house which was built in the center of the public square. This courthouse later burned and in 1916 the courthouse was relocated south of the square. Since that time the square has become a city park and site of many festivals, city picnics and celebrations.
The growth of Greenwood was comparatively slow, but by the breaking out of the Civil War it had attained some importance as a business center and by 1889 its business directory listed General Merchandise, Drugs, Groceries, Cotton Gin, Grist and Saw Mill, 3 Hotels, 3 Blacksmith and wood shops, 3 physicians, 1 dentist and 7 attorneys.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and therefore not very compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Greenwood AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Vocational Program Greenwood AR
Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Greenwood AR.