How to Enroll In a Welding Degree Program near Ward Arkansas
Selecting the ideal welder trade school near Ward AR is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 prudent to develop 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Ward AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Ward AR employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Ward AR area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Ward AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Ward AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Ward AR contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Ward AR welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Ward AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with some of the instructors 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 employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ward AR, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ward AR?
Perhaps you live in the Ward 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.
Ward is the third most populous city in Lonoke County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 4,067 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The city is divided into three wards, progressing from the northeast to the southwest. In the city's first ward is its downtown, which is situated diagonally along a railroad line running parallel to Arkansas Highway 367 (the former path of U.S. Highway 67). The second ward contains the central portion of the city, its industrial area, and its access to the current U.S. Highway 67/167 (Future Interstate 57). Arkansas Highway 319 (Peyton Street within the city south of Highway 367) is a primary thoroughfare in central Ward toward the southwestern section of the city. Some of the most recent development is in the city's third ward, situated mostly along Peyton Street, south of Wilson Street into the Old Austin community and Arkansas Highway 38; a small detached portion of the ward is located to the northwest along the railroad line and Arkansas Highway 367. Ward Central Elementary, the city's campus of the Cabot School District, is located in the larger portion of the third ward.
Ward is governed by a mayor-council form of municipal government, with a mayor, city clerk, and six-member city council, as well as four city departments — fire, police, street maintenance, and utilities (water and sanitation). City administration is housed in the former Ward Elementary School; the campus is also the site of the city's library, a branch of the Lonoke-Prairie Regional Library System, also the site of the Ward Lions Club.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Ward AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade Program Ward AR
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Ward AR.