How to Enroll In a Welding Certification Program near Paris Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Paris AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Paris AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Paris AR employers not only require 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 upon the kind 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 specific types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Paris AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Paris AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Paris AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Paris AR employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 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 trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Paris AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Paris AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed 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 in the evenings or on weekends near Paris AR, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Paris AR?
Perhaps you live in the Paris 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.
Paris is a city in Logan County, Arkansas, United States, and serves as the county seat for the northern district of Logan County; its southern district counterpart is Booneville. The population was 3,532 at the 2010 United States Census.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 4.8 square miles (12.4 km2), of which 4.5 square miles (11.7 km2) is land and 0.3 square miles (0.8 km2) (5.43%) is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 3,532 people, 1,553 households, and 984 families residing in the city. The population density was 818.1 people per square mile (316.0/km²). There were 1,713 housing units at an average density of 780 per square mile (146.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.5% White, 2.4% Black or African American, 0.40% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 1.11% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 2.16% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Paris AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously 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 experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Tech Program Paris AR
Selecting the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Paris AR.