How to Pick the Right Welding Certification Program near Ashdown Arkansas
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Ashdown AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Ashdown AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Ashdown AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Ashdown AR area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people consider 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 school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Ashdown AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must 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 assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Ashdown AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate 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 an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Ashdown AR employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Ashdown AR welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Ashdown AR home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade 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 Ashdown AR, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Ashdown AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Ashdown AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Ashdown Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Ashdown (formerly Turkey Flats and Keller) is a city in Little River County, Arkansas, United States. The community was incorporated in 1892 and has been the county seat since 1906. Located within the Arkansas Timberlands between the Little River and the Red River, Ashdown's economy and development have historically been tied to the timber industry, a trend that continues to this day. Ashdown's population at the 2010 census was 4,723, a slight decrease from the 2000 census. The city's well-preserved history and proximity to outdoor recreation such as Millwood State Park draws tourists to the area. Although not within the Texarkana metropolitan area, the city's proximity to Texarkana impacts many areas of life in Ashdown.
Founded as a small farming community, Ashdown was initially known as Turkey Flats and later Keller before being renamed by Judge Lawrence Alexander Byrne. Following his Keller mill being "burned down to ashes", Byrne vowed to rebuild and found a town named Ashdown. It was incorporated on June 11, 1892 as Ashdown, and rapid growth began in 1895 following the railroad reaching town. The Arkansas and Choctaw Railroad connected Ashdown to Arkinda, and the growth of the Kansas City Southern Railway, the Frisco and the Memphis, Dallas and Gulf Railroad continued to grow the city and her timber industry, which had been utilizing steamboats and flatboats to ship lumber.
Following World War II, Ashdown's economy began to diversify. Its location near two rivers attracted manufacturing plants, such as Coca-Cola bottling plant, box factory, clothing plant, ice plant and a pallet plant. The United States Army Corps of Engineers dammed the Little River and Saline River at their confluence in 1966, forming Millwood Lake. The lake's recreational value attracted a Nekoosa Paper Company paper mill two years later, still in operation today after being purchased by Domtar. The Little River Memorial Hospital was also built during this period of rapid building and development.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational Program Ashdown AR
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in TIG Welding Certificate. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller 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 current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Ashdown AR.