How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Searcy Arkansas
Selecting the right welder technical school near Searcy AR is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welder trade 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create 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 Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Searcy AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Searcy AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Vocational Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Searcy AR area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Searcy AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Searcy AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Searcy AR contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Searcy AR welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Searcy AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Searcy AR, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Searcy AR?
Perhaps you live in the Searcy 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.
Searcy (/ˈsɜːrsi/ SUR-see) is the largest city and county seat of White County, Arkansas, United States. According to 2014 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 23,768. It is the principal city of the Searcy, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of White County. The city takes its name from Richard Searcy, a judge for the Superior Court of the Arkansas Territory. A college town, Searcy is the home of Harding University.
Israel Moore, who had traveled west from Philadelphia, was in charge of laying out Searcy's original streets, and "he proceeded to name the major streets of Searcy for those of downtown Old Philadelphia near Independence Hall; Race, Arch, Market, Vine, Spring, and the tree-honoring streets of Cherry, Spruce, Locust and Pine." In 1957, Searcy named Moore Street after the 19th-century founder.
Spring Street also has a namesake in Old City Philadelphia, but it, along with downtown Searcy's Spring Park, may refer to the early history of the Searcy area, when the community was known as White Sulphur Springs. As early as 1834, local springs with purported therapeutic properties initially drew visitors to the area, similar to the popular attraction to Hot Springs.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Searcy AR area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Best Welding Tech School Searcy AR
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Searcy AR.