How to Choose the Right Welder Training Class near Greenwood Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Greenwood AR is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick 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 checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Greenwood AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Greenwood AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some 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 kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Greenwood AR area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Greenwood AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Greenwood AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Greenwood AR contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Greenwood AR welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Greenwood AR home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Greenwood AR, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Greenwood AR area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start 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. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Greenwood AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Greenwood Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Greenwood is a city in and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County, Arkansas, United States. It is the fifth largest municipality in the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area with a population of 8,952 according to the 2010 US Census. According to estimates based on the most recent census, the population of Greenwood in 2017 was 9,405.
Greenwood was founded in 1851 when its location was selected for the first county seat of Sebastian County. The town was named for Judge Alfred Burton Greenwood. Judge Greenwood had been elected the previous year to serve as Circuit Judge over ten Northwest Arkansas counties. The first court house was a log structure, replaced in 1865 by a frame court house which was built in the center of the public square. This courthouse later burned and in 1916 the courthouse was relocated south of the square. Since that time the square has become a city park and site of many festivals, city picnics and celebrations.
The growth of Greenwood was comparatively slow, but by the breaking out of the Civil War it had attained some importance as a business center and by 1889 its business directory listed General Merchandise, Drugs, Groceries, Cotton Gin, Grist and Saw Mill, 3 Hotels, 3 Blacksmith and wood shops, 3 physicians, 1 dentist and 7 attorneys.
Choose the Best Welding Vocational Program Greenwood AR
Choosing the best welding 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 Welding Technical Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Greenwood AR.