Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – Bigelow AR

How to Pick a Welder Trade School near Bigelow Arkansas

Bigelow AR welding school studentSelecting the ideal welder technical school near Bigelow AR is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select 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 people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns 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 beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish 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.

Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs

Bigelow AR welder working on pipingThere are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Bigelow AR.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish 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 readies students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.

Welder Certification Choices

Bigelow AR welder working on poleThere are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Bigelow AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specific metal thicknesses
  • Work with various types of welds
  • Operate in compliance with contract specifications

As previously stated, many states, cities 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, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.

How to Choose a Welder Vocational Program

Bigelow AR welder working on carOnce you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Bigelow AR area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many 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 should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.

Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Bigelow AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Bigelow AR welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in 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 school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Bigelow AR employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Bigelow AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Bigelow AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask 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 employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bigelow AR, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Bigelow AR?

Perhaps you live in the Bigelow 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.

Bigelow, Arkansas

Bigelow is a town in Perry County, Arkansas, United States. Located in Central Arkansas near the confluence of the Fourche La Fave River and Arkansas River, the community was incorporated in 1905 as Esau. Based largely on the timber industry, the town grew until the lumber mills were closed in 1920. The population was 329 at the 2000 census.

Bigelow did not exist by its current name until 1911, as it was formerly known as "Esau"—a community a few miles southwest of the present Bridge that grew to border the edge of the small town of Fourche. In 1911, Fourche River Mill owner, N.P. Bigelow, built an elaborate white house of the best lumber on a hill above the town. He was elected mayor, and then gained permission from the state's General Assembly to change the name of Esau to Bigelow. It was at one time the biggest town in the county; a vote was taken to move the county seat from Perryville to Bigelow, Bigelow won the vote, but the move was never made.

As of the census[6] of 2000, there were 329 people, 127 households, and 91 families residing in the town. The population density was 391.5 inhabitants per square mile (151.2/km²). There were 144 housing units at an average density of 171.3 per square mile (66.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.57% White, 0.61% Black or African American, 0.91% Native American, 0.61% Asian, and 0.30% from two or more races. 2.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Online Welder Classes

pipe welder at work in Bigelow ARWelding is truly a manual type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Bigelow AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. However, the most important 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 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 seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Pick the Right Welding Trade Program Bigelow AR

Picking the right welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Bigelow AR.

 

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