How to Enroll In the Right Welding Trade School near Bigelow Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Bigelow AR is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade 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 establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Bigelow AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Bigelow AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Bigelow AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. 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 some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Bigelow AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Bigelow AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Bigelow AR contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Bigelow AR welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Bigelow AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present 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 at night or on weekends near Bigelow AR, verify that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Bigelow AR area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed 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 attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Bigelow AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Bigelow Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Bigelow is a town in Perry County, Arkansas, United States. Located in Central Arkansas near the confluence of the Fourche La Fave River and Arkansas River, the community was incorporated in 1905 as Esau. Based largely on the timber industry, the town grew until the lumber mills were closed in 1920. The population was 329 at the 2000 census.
Bigelow did not exist by its current name until 1911, as it was formerly known as "Esau"—a community a few miles southwest of the present Bridge that grew to border the edge of the small town of Fourche. In 1911, Fourche River Mill owner, N.P. Bigelow, built an elaborate white house of the best lumber on a hill above the town. He was elected mayor, and then gained permission from the state's General Assembly to change the name of Esau to Bigelow. It was at one time the biggest town in the county; a vote was taken to move the county seat from Perryville to Bigelow, Bigelow won the vote, but the move was never made.
As of the census of 2000, there were 329 people, 127 households, and 91 families residing in the town. The population density was 391.5 inhabitants per square mile (151.2/km²). There were 144 housing units at an average density of 171.3 per square mile (66.2/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 97.57% White, 0.61% Black or African American, 0.91% Native American, 0.61% Asian, and 0.30% from two or more races. 2.43% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational School Bigelow AR
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Certificate Courses. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Bigelow AR.