How to Choose a Welding Certificate Program near Keiser Arkansas
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Keiser AR is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many 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 costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Keiser AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Keiser AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Vocational School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Keiser AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Keiser AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous 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. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Keiser AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate 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 a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Keiser AR employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Keiser AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Keiser AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Keiser AR, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. 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 policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Keiser AR?
Perhaps you live in the Keiser 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.
Originally known as Savage Crossing, Keiser was one of several cities established by prominent late-19th century planter and land developer Robert E. Lee Wilson. The city, which served as a logging outpost and railroad stop on the rail line that connected Wilson and Jonesboro, was named for Wilson's friend, John Keiser. After the forests had been cleared, the city transitioned from a logging town to an agrarian community. The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station established a research farm near Keiser in 1957, and built a regional headquarters in Keiser, the Northeast Research and Extension Center, 1980.
Keiser is located at 35°40′28″N 90°5′46″W / 35.67444°N 90.09611°W / 35.67444; -90.09611 (35.674411, -90.096084). The city is concentrated along a stretch of Arkansas Highway 181 southwest of Osceola and northwest of Wilson. Interstate 55 passes just east of the city.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Keiser has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Keiser AR area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational School Keiser AR
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Keiser AR.