How to Enroll In a Welding Trade School near Van Buren Arkansas
Locating the ideal welder vocational school near Van Buren AR is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Van Buren AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working 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 well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Van Buren AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Van Buren AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Van Buren 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 Placement Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Van Buren AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Van Buren AR employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Van Buren AR welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Van Buren AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present 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 at night or on weekends near Van Buren AR, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Van Buren AR?
Perhaps you live in the Van Buren 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.
Van Buren, Arkansas
Van Buren /væn ˈbjʊərən/ is the second largest city in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area and the county seat of Crawford County, Arkansas, United States. The city is located directly northeast of Fort Smith at the Interstate 40 - Interstate 540 junction. The city was incorporated in 1845 and as of the 2010 census had a population of 22,791, ranking it as the state's 22nd largest city, behind Searcy.
The area was settled by David Boyd and Thomas Martin in 1818. After Arkansas became a territory in 1819 Daniel and Thomas Phillips constructed a lumber yard in the community to serve as a fuel depot for traffic along the Arkansas River. In 1831 a post office was constructed for the community, at the time known as Phillips Landing. This post office was named after the newly appointed Secretary of State, Martin Van Buren.
John Drennen, along with his partner David Thompson, purchased the area for US$11,000. They moved their business of supplying firewood for steamboats to this new location on higher ground. The courthouse was constructed on a lot of land donated by Drennen on the condition that Van Buren become the county seat. The Drennen Reserve is one of the town's existing historical sites from the 1830s.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Van Buren AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Trade School Van Buren AR
Selecting the right welder 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 several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Van Buren AR.