How to Pick a Welding Certificate Program near Hazen Arkansas
Finding the right welding trade school near Hazen AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when evaluating welder vocational 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Hazen AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned 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 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Hazen AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Vocational School
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 are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Hazen AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, 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 assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Hazen 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.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Hazen AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Hazen AR contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught 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. Otherwise, ask a local Hazen AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Hazen AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hazen AR, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Hazen AR?
Perhaps you live in the Hazen 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.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.7 square miles (9.6 km2), all land. Included is a 0.25-mile wide strip of annexed land along Interstate 40 in Prairie County. Nearby towns are Des Arc, De Valls Bluff, Ulm and Fredonia (Biscoe).
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,637 people, 658 households, and 461 families residing in the city. The population density was 446.8 people per square mile (172.7/km²). There were 732 housing units at an average density of 199.8/sq mi (77.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 80.57% White, 18.45% Black or African American, 0.55% Native American, and 0.43% from two or more races. 0.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 658 households out of which 30.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.4% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.8% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 2.88.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Hazen AR area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. However, 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 performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Technical School Hazen AR
Picking the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Hazen AR.