How to Select a Welder Training Program near Rector Arkansas
Enrolling in the ideal welder vocational school near Rector AR is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Rector AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Rector AR employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements 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 extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Rector AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Rector AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Rector AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Rector AR contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 Rector AR welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Rector AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Rector AR, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Rector AR?
Perhaps you live in the Rector 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.
In 1881 the Texas and St. Louis Railroad laid out the town of Rector about 2 miles (3 km) to the south of an existing settlement named Scatterville, and the population of Scatterville gradually migrated to the new town.
Rector is located in southern Clay County along the southeastern edge of Crowley's Ridge. U.S. Route 49 passes through the city, leading northeast 13 miles (21 km) to Piggott and southwest 7 miles (11 km) to Marmaduke. In the southern part of the city, Arkansas Highway 90 (Main Street) intersects US 49.
As of the census of 2000, the racial makeup of the city was 98.26% White, 0.55% Native American, 0.20% Asian, and 0.99% from two or more races. 0.89% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Rector AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give 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 handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have 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 knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Trade Program Rector AR
Selecting the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal 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. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Rector AR.
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