How to Select a Welding Certification Class near Prairie Grove Arkansas
Choosing the right welder trade school near Prairie Grove AR is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational 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 Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Prairie Grove AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Prairie Grove AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating 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 qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Tech School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Prairie Grove AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Prairie Grove AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various 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 help students find employment and establish associations within the Prairie Grove AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Prairie Grove AR employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure 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 not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Prairie Grove AR welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you select must be within driving distance of your Prairie Grove AR home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Prairie Grove AR, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Prairie Grove AR?
Perhaps you live in the Prairie Grove 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.
Prairie Grove, Arkansas
Prairie Grove is a city in Washington County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,380 at the 2010 Census. It is part of the Northwest Arkansas region, and home to Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park. The park spans a large amount of land and contains a visitor center, museum, several monuments, a driving tour and a collection of period buildings and homes.
Prairie Grove was the site of the Battle of Prairie Grove during the American Civil War. Confederate forces under General Thomas C. Hindman attempted to prevent the juncture of two Federal forces under Generals James G. Blunt and Francis J. Herron. The result of the battle was a tactical stalemate which assured permanent Union control of northwest Arkansas. The battlefield is now a State Military Park.
The Natural Resources Defense Council released an issue paper stating between that 1997 and 2001, Prairie Grove was the center of a cluster of testicular cancer cases. No clear cause has been identified but the NRDC notes the town is near a closed nuclear reactor and a low-level radioactive landfill. Arsenic from industrialized chicken manure is another possible source. In 2004, residents sued one of the poultry farms and the poultry feed manufacturer for spreading contaminated manure throughout Prairie Grove. The lawsuit did not assign blame and the cause of the cancer cluster has never been definitively determined.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Prairie Grove AR area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide 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 handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very 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 Prairie Grove AR
Selecting the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Prairie Grove AR.