Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – West Helena AR

How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Class near West Helena Arkansas

West Helena AR welding school studentFinding the ideal welding school near West Helena 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 Training

West Helena AR welder working on pipingThere are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the West Helena AR.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to teach 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 two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.

Welding Certification Options

West Helena AR welder working on poleThere are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous West Helena AR employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specific metal thicknesses
  • Work with specific types of welds
  • Perform based on contract specifications

As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.

How to Choose a Welder Trade School

West Helena AR welder working on carWhen you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the West Helena AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.

Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you choose 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in West Helena 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 as well.

Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the West Helena AR welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of West Helena AR contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local West Helena AR welding professional if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your West Helena AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 want to work.

Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Helena AR, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select 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 circumstances.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Helena AR?

Perhaps you live in the West Helena 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.

Helena–West Helena, Arkansas

Helena–West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States.[3] The current city was consolidated, effective January 1, 2006, from the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. Helena is sited on lowlands between the Mississippi River and the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge. West Helena is located on the western side of Crowley's Ridge, a geographic anomaly in the typically flat Arkansas Delta. The Helena Bridge, one of Arkansas' four Mississippi River bridges, carries U.S. Route 49 across to Mississippi. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census and at the 2010 census, the official population was 12,282.[4]

The municipality traces its historical roots to the founding of the port town of Helena on the Mississippi River by European Americans in 1833. As the county seat, Helena was the center of a prosperous cotton plantation region in the antebellum years. Helena was occupied by the Union Army early in the American Civil War. The city was the site of the Battle of Helena fought in 1863. Confederate forces unsuccessfully tried to expel Union forces from Helena in order to help relieve pressure on the strategic river town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later in the year, Helena served as the launching point for the Union Army in the capture of Little Rock, the state capital.

A thriving blues community developed here in the 1940s and 1950s as rural musicians relocated for city jobs. Mechanization had reduced the need for farm workers. The city continued to grow until the closing of the Mohawk Rubber Company, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Company, in the 1970s. Unemployment surged shortly after.[5]

Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs

pipe welder at work in West Helena ARWelding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Helena AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, 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 work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Select the Best Welding Vocational Program West Helena AR

Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Helena AR.

 

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