How to Pick a Welding Certification Program near Prescott Arkansas
Choosing the right welder trade school near Prescott AR is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest 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 issues when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Prescott AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Prescott AR employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Vocational Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Prescott AR area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Prescott AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Prescott AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 industry, but additionally that it has the network of Prescott AR employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Prescott AR welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Prescott AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prescott AR, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Prescott AR?
Perhaps you live in the Prescott 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.
Prescott is a city and the county seat of Nevada County, Arkansas, United States. The community had a population of 3,868 at the 2000 census. Prescott is part of the Hope Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Located 100 miles southwest of Little Rock, Prescott was developed on the Prairie D'Âne, named by French colonists before the United States acquired this area. The prairie consisted of approximately 25–30 square miles of rolling open land, surrounded by forest. The area had been a well-known crossroads prior to construction of the Cairo & Fulton Railroad. To the west lies the city of Washington, to the east lies the city of Camden, while to the south lies the Red River, with Shreveport, Texarkana, and Dallas beyond.
As of 2014, Prescott and Nevada County had sixteen properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Elkin's Ferry Battleground and the Prairie D'Ane Battlefield are further recognized as National Historic Landmarks within a National Historic Landmark District.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Prescott AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical School Prescott AR
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Prescott AR.