How to Select a Welding Training Class near Western Grove Arkansas
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Western Grove AR is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Western Grove AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Western Grove AR employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different 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 confirm that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Western Grove AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many 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 should be considered. After all, the school 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 need to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Western Grove 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. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations 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 establish associations within the Western Grove AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Western Grove AR employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Western Grove AR welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Western Grove AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some 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 have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Western Grove AR, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Western Grove AR?
Perhaps you live in the Western Grove 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.
Western Grove, Arkansas
As of the census of 2000, there were 407 people, 169 households, and 126 families residing in the town. The population density was 145.5/km² (375.1/mi²). There were 193 housing units at an average density of 69.0/km² (177.9/mi²). The racial makeup of the town was 99.51% White, and 0.49% from two or more races.
There were 169 households out of which 37.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 17.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 25.4% were non-families. 24.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the town, the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 9.3% from 18 to 24, 29.7% from 25 to 44, 23.3% from 45 to 64, and 10.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 80.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 74.7 males.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Western Grove AR area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need 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 attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical Program Western Grove AR
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Western Grove AR.