How to Enroll In the Right Welding Trade School near Jacksonville Arkansas
Locating the ideal welder school near Jacksonville AR is an important first step to starting 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to obtain 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Jacksonville AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies 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 welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Jacksonville AR employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Jacksonville AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. 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 might need to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Jacksonville AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon 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 various 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Jacksonville AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Jacksonville AR contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect 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 using in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Jacksonville AR welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance 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 welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Jacksonville AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially 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 regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Jacksonville AR, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
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 vocational schools in the greater Jacksonville AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, 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 work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Jacksonville AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Jacksonville Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Jacksonville is a city in Pulaski County, Arkansas, United States, and a suburb of Little Rock. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city was 28,364. It is part of the Little Rock–North Little Rock–Conway Metropolitan Statistical Area with 729,135 people as of 2014.
The city is named for Nicholas Jackson, a landowner who deeded the land for the railroad right-of-way to the Cairo & Fulton Railroad in 1870. The community evolved from the settlement surrounding the railroad depot, eventually incorporating in 1941. In 1941, construction began on the Arkansas Ordnance Plant (AOP), which served as the primary facility for the development of fuses and detonators for World War II. Following the war, AOP ceased operations and the land was sold for commercial interests, including the development of the Little Rock Air Force Base in 1955. Today, portions of AOP still remain, including the Arkansas Ordnance Plant Guard House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places and the Jacksonville Museum of Military History. Despite Pulaski County being an Arkansas county that is not a "dry" county, as it allows the sales of beer and liquor, the municipal limits of Jacksonville are "moist", as it does not allow the sales of alcohol in stores, but allows the sale of alcohol in some restaurants with special permits.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 28.2 square miles (73.1 km2), of which 28.1 square miles (72.8 km2) is land and 0.12 square miles (0.3 km2), or 0.42%, is water.
Choose the Best Welding Trade Program Jacksonville AR
Selecting the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Courses Near Me. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Jacksonville AR.