How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Lonoke Arkansas
Choosing the ideal welder school near Lonoke AR is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Courses
There are multiple options 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Lonoke AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach 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 most often 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 requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Lonoke AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational School
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Lonoke AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose 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). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Lonoke AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships 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 utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Lonoke AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lonoke AR employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment 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 uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Lonoke AR welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Lonoke AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lonoke AR, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lonoke AR?
Perhaps you live in the Lonoke 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.
Lonoke is the second most populous city in Lonoke County, Arkansas, United States, and serves as its county seat. According to 2010 United States Census, the population of the city is 4,245. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Lonoke's history begins with the advance of Union troops through Central Arkansas during the American Civil War. The town of Brownsville was burned to the ground by Union forces after the retreat of Confederate forces westward to Little Rock. After the war, it was decided by the city leaders of Brownsville that a new town should be formed by the nearby railroad so that those who wished to stay could do so.
According to local legend, the town was named for a large red oak tree that was found while trees were being chopped down in order to build houses. The official name of the city was originally Lone Oak. However, due to a misprint in the Lonoke Democrat newspaper, the town's name was printed as Lonoak. Eventually, this misspelling became further misspelled as Lonoke.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Lonoke AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Best Welding Tech School Lonoke AR
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several 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 examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Lonoke AR.