How to Choose a Welder Training Program near Norman Arkansas
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Norman AR is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welder trade 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 chosen 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 Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options to receive 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Norman AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Norman 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). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Norman AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose 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 make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Norman 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 also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma 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. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Norman AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Norman AR employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Norman AR welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Norman AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few 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 opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Norman AR, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Norman AR?
Perhaps you live in the Norman 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.
There is a Caddo Native American burial ground on the southern end of town. It was discovered by city officials, led by then mayor Duane Cox, who protected it with a wooden fence. Recently, descendents of the Caddo added to the site a footpath and benches as well as plaques containing historical information regarding the living habits of Native Americans.
As of the census of 2000, there were 423 people, 190 households, and 117 families residing in the town. The population density was 140.8/km² (364.8/mi²). There were 224 housing units at an average density of 74.6/km² (193.2/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 94.56% White, 1.42% Native American, 0.95% Asian, 0.95% from other races, and 2.13% from two or more races. 2.84% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 190 households out of which 25.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.1% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 34.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 20.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.84.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Norman AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills must 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 knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Vocational School Norman AR
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Norman AR.