How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Blytheville Arkansas
Selecting the right welder technical school near Blytheville AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Blytheville AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should ready 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 Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Blytheville AR employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types 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, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Blytheville AR area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 important 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 considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Blytheville AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Blytheville AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Blytheville AR contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Blytheville AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Blytheville AR home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Blytheville AR, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Blytheville AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide 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 until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Blytheville AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Blytheville Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Blytheville was founded by Methodist clergyman Henry T. Blythe in 1879. It received a post office in 1879, was incorporated in 1889, and became the county seat for the northern half of Mississippi County (Chickasawba District) in 1901. Blytheville received telephone service and electricity in 1903, and natural gas service in 1950.
Forestry was an early industry, spurred by the massive harvesting of lumber needed to rebuild Chicago following the Great Fire of 1871. The lumber industry brought sawmills and a rowdy crowd, and the area was known for its disreputable saloon culture during the 1880s and 1890s.
The cleared forests enabled cotton farming to take hold, encouraged by ongoing levee building and waterway management; the population grew significantly after 1900. On Blytheville's western edge lies one of the largest cotton gins in North America, and soybeans and rice have also become important crops.
Choose the Best Welding Technical Program Blytheville AR
Picking the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Courses For Welding. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Blytheville AR.