How to Pick a Welder Trade School near Hector Arkansas
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Hector AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options to get 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Hector AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 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.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Hector AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few 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 certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Vocational Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Hector AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Hector AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Hector AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Hector AR contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Hector AR welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Hector AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hector AR, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Hector AR?
Perhaps you live in the Hector 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.
USS Hector (AR-7)
Hector was launched 11 November 1942 by the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, San Pedro, California and sponsored by Mrs. Schuyler F. Helm. Hector was commissioned 7 February 1944, with Commander J. W. Long in command.
After shakedown along the West Coast, the new repair ship sailed for the Pacific, reaching Pearl Harbor 9 April 1944. She remained at Pearl Harbor effecting repairs on various ships, primarily landing craft, until she departed for Eniwetok on 5 June. Arriving there 13 June, Hector spent the summer at Eniwetok and then sailed for Ulithi 30 September. Her biggest repair job of the war came to her 27 October at Ulithi as the cruiser USS Houston, torpedoed twice by Japanese submarines, was towed alongside. Although hampered by a severe typhoon season which twice sent her out to sea for safety, Hector managed to repair Houston by the end of the year besides aiding many other smaller craft.
Hector departed Ulithi 16 February 1945 and 5 days later steamed into Tarragona, Leyte Gulf, to repair ships as the battle for the Philippines raged. This task completed, she returned to Ulithi 30 March and continued on to Saipan 22 May. After the war ended 1 September, Hector remained in the Pacific to prepare various ships for return to the United States.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Hector AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done 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 would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Technical School Hector AR
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Hector AR.