How to Select a Welding Certificate Program near Siloam Springs Arkansas
Enrolling in the ideal welder technical school near Siloam Springs AR is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Siloam Springs AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Siloam Springs AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Siloam Springs AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Siloam Springs AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Siloam Springs AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Siloam Springs AR contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Siloam Springs AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Siloam Springs AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from 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. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to 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. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Siloam Springs AR, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Siloam Springs AR?
Perhaps you live in the Siloam Springs 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.
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Siloam Springs is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The city shares a border on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line with the city of West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma, which is within the Cherokee Nation territory. The town was founded in 1882 and was characterized by the purported healing powers of the spring water feeding Sager Creek and trading with nearby Native American tribes. John Brown University (JBU) was founded in 1919 as a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in the city. Today, Siloam Springs is known for its efforts to preserve and revitalize the city's historic downtown and as a promoter of the arts via Sager Creek Arts Center and the JBU art gallery. The community is located on the western edge of the growing Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area and has had a population increase of 47% to 15,039 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.
Osage Indians were the known first inhabitants of the area. Siloam Springs' first white settlers were of German and Scots-Irish origin. Simon Sager is considered the founder of the town, then known as Hico.
The area is located in the Mid-South region of the country where the southern plains meet the Ozark Mountains. The city sits atop a plateau with many dogwood trees growing across the landscape. Siloam Springs is made up of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. The latter is in the territory of the Cherokee Nation in northeastern Oklahoma.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Siloam Springs AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational Program Siloam Springs AR
Selecting the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are evaluating 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 course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Siloam Springs AR.