How to Find the Right Welder Degree Program near Jacksonville Arkansas
Enrolling in the ideal welding school near Jacksonville AR is an important 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 narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Jacksonville AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually 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 states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Jacksonville AR employers not only demand 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 on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Jacksonville AR area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, 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 career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Jacksonville AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing 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 assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Jacksonville AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied 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 school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Jacksonville AR contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Jacksonville AR welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Jacksonville AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Jacksonville AR, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Jacksonville AR?
Perhaps you live in the Jacksonville 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.
Jacksonville is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States, and a suburb of Little Rock. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 28,364. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area with 729,135 people as of 2014.
The city is named for Nicholas Jackson, a landowner who deeded the land for the railroad right-of-way to the Cairo & Fulton Railroad in 1870. The community evolved from the settlement surrounding the railroad depot, eventually incorporating in 1941. In 1941, construction began on the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP), which served as the primary facility for the development of fuses and detonators for World War II. Following the war, AOP ceased operations and the land was sold for commercial interests, including the development of the Little Rock Air Force Base in 1955. Today, portions of AOP still remain, including the Arkansas Ordnance Plant Guard House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Jacksonville Museum of Military History. Despite Pulaski County being an Arkansas county that is not a "dry" county, as it allows the sales of beer and liquor, the municipal limits of Jacksonville are "moist", as it does not allow the sales of alcohol in stores, but allows the sale of alcohol in some restaurants with special permits.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73.1 km2), of which 28.1 square miles (72.8 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.42%, is water.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Jacksonville AR area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade Program Jacksonville AR
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Jacksonville AR.