How to Select a Welding Trade School near Ashdown Arkansas
Selecting the right welding trade school near Ashdown AR is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary 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 initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Ashdown AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, 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 2 years to complete 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 supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Ashdown AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Ashdown AR area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people consider 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 program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Ashdown AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon 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 partnerships 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Ashdown 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 essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Ashdown AR employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three 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 instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Ashdown AR welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Ashdown AR home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ashdown AR, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ashdown AR?
Perhaps you live in the Ashdown 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.
Ashdown (formerly Turkey Flats and Keller) is a city in Little River County, Arkansas, United States. The community was incorporated in 1892 and has been the county seat since 1906. Located within the Arkansas Timberlands between the Little River and the Red River, Ashdown's economy and development have historically been tied to the timber industry, a trend that continues to this day. Ashdown's population at the 2010 census was 4,723, a slight decrease from the 2000 census. The city's well-preserved history and proximity to outdoor recreation such as Millwood State Park draws tourists to the area. Although not within the Texarkana metropolitan area, the city's proximity to Texarkana impacts many areas of life in Ashdown.
Founded as a small farming community, Ashdown was initially known as Turkey Flats and later Keller before being renamed by Judge Lawrence Alexander Byrne. Following his Keller mill being "burned down to ashes", Byrne vowed to rebuild and found a town named Ashdown. It was incorporated on June 11, 1892 as Ashdown, and rapid growth began in 1895 following the railroad reaching town. The Arkansas and Choctaw Railroad connected Ashdown to Arkinda, and the growth of the Kansas City Southern Railway, the Frisco and the Memphis, Dallas and Gulf Railroad continued to grow the city and her timber industry, which had been utilizing steamboats and flatboats to ship lumber.
Following World War II, Ashdown's economy began to diversify. Its location near two rivers attracted manufacturing plants, such as Coca-Cola bottling plant, box factory, clothing plant, ice plant and a pallet plant. The United States Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Little River and Saline River at their confluence in 1966, forming Millwood Lake. The lake's recreational value attracted a Nekoosa Paper Company paper mill two years later, still in operation today after being purchased by Domtar. The Little River Memorial Hospital was also built during this period of rapid building and development.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Ashdown AR area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need 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 possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Trade Program Ashdown AR
Selecting the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Ashdown AR.