How to Pick a Welder Certification Program near Harrison Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welder school near Harrison AR is an important first step to launching your new occupation 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 alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Harrison AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created 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 2 years to finish 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder 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 professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Harrison AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills 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 in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Harrison AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program 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 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 agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain 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. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Harrison AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Harrison AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Harrison AR employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. 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 Harrison AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Harrison AR home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Harrison AR, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose 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 Harrison AR?
Perhaps you live in the Harrison 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.
Harrison is a city in Boone County, Arkansas, United States. It is the county seat of Boone County. It is named after General Marcus LaRue Harrison, a surveyor that laid out the city along Crooked Creek at Stifler Springs. According to 2012 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city was 13,163, up from 12,943 at the 2010 census. Harrison is the principal city of the Harrison Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Boone and Newton counties.
Race riots by whites in 1905 and 1909 drove away black residents, establishing Harrison as a sundown town. Today it is known as a center of white supremacist activity, including the national headquarters of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.
Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area, the first probably being cliff dwellers who lived in caves in the bluffs along the rivers. In later times, the Osage, a branch of the Sioux, was the main tribe in the Ozarks, and one of their larger villages is thought to have been to the east of the present site of Harrison. The Shawnee, Quapaw, and Caddo people were also familiar to the area.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Harrison AR area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished 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 desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational Program Harrison AR
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training 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. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Harrison AR.
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