How to Find the Right Welder Certificate Program near Magnolia Arkansas
Locating the right welder technical school near Magnolia AR is an essential first step to launching 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Magnolia AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Magnolia AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Vocational Program
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Magnolia AR area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 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 select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Magnolia 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.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help 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. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Magnolia AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Magnolia AR contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Magnolia AR welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Magnolia AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Magnolia AR, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Magnolia AR?
Perhaps you live in the Magnolia 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.
The city was founded in 1853. At the time of its incorporation in 1858, the city had a population of about 1,950. The city grew slowly as an agricultural and regional cotton market until the discovery of oil just east of the city in March 1938, with the Barnett #1 drilled by the Kerr-Lynn Company. The Magnolia Oil Field was an important discovery for the city as well as for the nation, as it was the largest producing field (in volume) during the early years of World War II, helping to sustain the American war effort.
Magnolia is located in southwest Arkansas, north of the center of Columbia County at 33°16′27″N 93°14′1″W / 33.27417°N 93.23361°W / 33.27417; -93.23361 (33.274052, -93.233477). The average altitude is 336 ft (102 m) above sea level according to NOAA. The surrounding region is a mix of dense forest, farm prairies, and low rolling hills.
The average temperature is 64 °F (18 °C), and the average annual rainfall is 50.3 inches (1,280 mm). The winters are mild but can dip into the teens at night and have highs in the 30s and even some 20s but average out around 50. The springs are warm and can be stormy with strong to severe storms and average highs in the mid 70s. Summers are often hot, humid and dry but with occasional isolated afternoon storms, highs in the mid to upper 90s and even 100s. In the fall the temps cool from the 90s and 100s to 80s and 70s. Early fall temps are usually in the 80s but can reach 90s and at times has reached 100. Late fall temps fall to 70s and 60s. It is not uncommon to see snow and ice during the winter. It has been known to snow a few times as late as April and as early as November in Magnolia.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Magnolia AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Trade School Magnolia AR
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Magnolia AR.