How to Pick a Welding Training Program near Harrisburg Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Harrisburg AR is an important first step to starting 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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 Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Harrisburg AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Harrisburg AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Harrisburg AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive 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 sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Harrisburg AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Harrisburg AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Harrisburg AR contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 Harrisburg AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Harrisburg AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Harrisburg AR, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Harrisburg AR?
Perhaps you live in the Harrisburg 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.
Harrisburg is a city in Poinsett County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,288 at the 2010 census. It is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is the county seat of Poinsett County.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,192 people, 855 households, and 582 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,050.4 people per square mile (404.9/km²). There were 928 housing units at an average density of 444.7/sq mi (171.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.66% White, 1.24% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.27% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.87% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. 1.51% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race and 00.01% Other.
There were 855 households out of which 29.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 15.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.9% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.84.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Harrisburg AR area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical 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 performed online. These skills need 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 discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Vocational School Harrisburg AR
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Harrisburg AR.