How to Pick a Welder Certificate Program near West Memphis Arkansas
Selecting the right welder technical school near West Memphis AR is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options to obtain 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the West Memphis AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working 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 diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous West Memphis AR employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the West Memphis AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish 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 essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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 specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in West Memphis AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the West Memphis 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 finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of West Memphis AR employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local West Memphis AR welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your West Memphis AR home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Memphis AR, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Memphis AR?
Perhaps you live in the West Memphis 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.
West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 26,245 at the 2010 census, ranking it as the state's 18th largest city, behind Bella Vista. It is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis.
Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city limits, has a marker indicating that the villages of Aquixo (Aquijo) or Pacaha were in the area. Several mounds are still visible.
Explorers from both Spain and France visited the area near West Memphis. Among those explorers were Hernando de Soto and his men from Spain and Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France. By the time French hunters and explorers entered the region, the Mississippian towns and other settlements had been abandoned. The original site of West Memphis came from Spanish land grants issued during the 1790s. Grants were given to Benjamin Fooy, John Henry Fooy, and Isaac Fooy in the Hopefield (Crittenden County) area and to William McKenney in the Bridgeport-West Memphis area.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater West Memphis AR area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate 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 performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational School West Memphis AR
Picking the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in West Memphis AR.
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