How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Marmaduke Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Marmaduke AR is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational 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 cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Marmaduke AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many 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 prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Marmaduke AR employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Trade School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Marmaduke AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic 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, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Marmaduke AR for schools that are not accredited. 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 welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place 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 associations within the Marmaduke AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Marmaduke AR employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Marmaduke AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Marmaduke AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marmaduke AR, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Marmaduke AR?
Perhaps you live in the Marmaduke 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 town of Marmaduke was named for Confederate Major General John Sappington Marmaduke, who later served as governor of Missouri. Marmaduke was said to have established a camp for his soldiers near the site of the present town. The Texas and St. Louis Railroad was built through the area in 1882.
Marmaduke was incorporated on August 2, 1909, and, by 1914, had expanded to include two drugstores, three banks, three restaurants, a Methodist and Baptist church, two barber shops, a hotel, a boarding house, and two dime stores. The primary employers at the time were a sawmill, a lumber mill, a stave mill, and large and cut timber distributors.
The community was severely damaged by a severe tornado on April 2, 2006. At least half of the town was reported to have been destroyed or even flattened, and nearly every structure received some degree of damage. No one was killed in Marmaduke, but at least 50 people were injured, some seriously. In 2009 a major ice storm came across the northern part of Arkansas, causing the village, together with other regions, to lose electricity for a few weeks. Since then the town has almost fully recovered.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Marmaduke AR area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most significant 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 accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain 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 greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Vocational School Marmaduke AR
Choosing the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Marmaduke AR.