How to Select a Welding Certificate Program near Rison Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Rison 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 fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Rison AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Rison 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 variety of certifications are offered based on the type 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical School
When you have decided on the credential you want 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 welding trade and technical schools in the Rison AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types 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, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Rison AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Rison AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 additionally that it has the network of Rison AR employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, 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 taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure 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 Rison AR welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Rison AR home. If you do choose 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 welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Rison AR, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Rison AR?
Perhaps you live in the Rison 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.
Rison is a city in and the county seat of Cleveland County,Arkansas, United States. Its population was 1,344 at the 2010 U.S. census. It is included in the Pine Bluff, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Rison is located in north-central Cleveland County at 33°57′26″N 92°11′23″W / 33.957089°N 92.189711°W / 33.957089; -92.189711.U.S. Route 79 passes through the western side of the city, leading northeast 25 miles (40 km) to Pine Bluff and southwest 17 miles (27 km) to Fordyce.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,271 people, 471 households, and 324 families residing in the city. The population density was 475.1 people per square mile (183.8/km²). There were 532 housing units at an average density of 198.9/sq mi (76.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 62.23% White, 33.36% Black or African American, 0.31% Native American, 0.24% Asian, 1.73% from other races, and 2.12% from two or more races. 2.20% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Rison AR area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade School Rison AR
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Rison AR.