How to Pick a Welding Certification Course near Kensett Arkansas
Choosing the right welding technical school near Kensett AR is an essential 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 fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options available to obtain 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 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 prevalent welding programs available in the Kensett AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Kensett AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like 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 things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds 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 tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Kensett AR area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you pick 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 specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Kensett AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various 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. These schools must have relationships 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Kensett AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Kensett AR contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Kensett AR welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Kensett AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. 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 considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kensett AR, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Kensett AR?
Perhaps you live in the Kensett 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.
Kensett is a city in White County, Arkansas, United States. Located adjacent to the east side of Searcy, the city is the hometown of noted legislator Wilbur D. Mills, who was influential throughout the 1960s and 1970s in the United States House of Representatives.
Allen Edge is the current mayor. The population was 1,791 at the 2000 census. Many companies have moved to Kensett to support the natural gas industry. Kensett is a center for landscaping and nursery activity. Double Springs sod farm, Latina Nursery (well known for Japanese maples and peach trees), and Two Rivers Nursery are all located in or near Kensett. There are several restaurants, and Kensett has the lowest sales tax rate in White County.
Kensett was a stop on the defunct Missouri and North Arkansas Railroad, which provided passenger and freight service from Joplin, Missouri, to Helena in Phillips County in eastern Arkansas, from 1906 until its disestablishment in 1946. At Kensett, the M&NA connected with the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway, later the Missouri Pacific Railroad, now the Union Pacific.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Kensett AR area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have 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 knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical Program Kensett AR
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor 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 commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Kensett AR.