How to Select the Right Welder Certification Class near Helena Arkansas
Selecting the ideal welding school near Helena AR is an important first step to starting 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 alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welding technical 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Helena AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop 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 2 years to complete 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Helena AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
Once 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 trade and vocational schools in the Helena AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain 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 itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Helena 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. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Helena AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Helena AR contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Helena AR welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Helena AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Helena AR, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Helena AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Helena AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Helena Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Helena–West Helena, Arkansas
Helena–West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States. The current city was consolidated, effective January 1, 2006, from the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. Helena is sited on lowlands between the Mississippi River and the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge. West Helena is located on the western side of Crowley's Ridge, a geographic anomaly in the typically flat Arkansas Delta. The Helena Bridge, one of Arkansas' four Mississippi River bridges, carries U.S. Route 49 across to Mississippi. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census and at the 2010 census, the official population was 12,282.
The municipality traces its historical roots to the founding of the port town of Helena on the Mississippi River by European Americans in 1833. As the county seat, Helena was the center of a prosperous cotton plantation region in the antebellum years. Helena was occupied by the Union Army early in the American Civil War. The city was the site of the Battle of Helena fought in 1863. Confederate forces unsuccessfully tried to expel Union forces from Helena in order to help relieve pressure on the strategic river town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later in the year, Helena served as the launching point for the Union Army in the capture of Little Rock, the state capital.
A thriving blues community developed here in the 1940s and 1950s as rural musicians relocated for city jobs. Mechanization had reduced the need for farm workers. The city continued to grow until the closing of the Mohawk Rubber Company, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Company, in the 1970s. Unemployment surged shortly after.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical Program Helena AR
Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly 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 Best Welding Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide 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 offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Helena AR.