How to Find the Right Welding Technical School near Hartford Arkansas
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Hartford AR is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Hartford AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced 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 certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares 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 potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Hartford AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities 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 demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Hartford AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Hartford AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing 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 assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Hartford 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 welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Hartford AR contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Hartford AR welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Hartford AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hartford AR, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Hartford AR?
Perhaps you live in the Hartford 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.
As of the census of 2000, there were 772 people, 299 households, and 217 families residing in the city. The population density was 427.3 people per square mile (164.7/km²). There were 346 housing units at an average density of 191.5/sq mi (73.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.52% White, 1.17% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 1.55% from other races, and 3.63% from two or more races. 2.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 299 households out of which 30.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.2% were married couples living together, 11.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.4% were non-families. 24.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the city, the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 93.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Hartford AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. 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 accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Tech School Hartford AR
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Hartford AR.