How to Choose the Right Welder Trade School near Magnolia Arkansas
Selecting the right welding trade school near Magnolia AR is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 several options available 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Magnolia AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created 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 finish 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 furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Magnolia AR employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating 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 just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Magnolia AR area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Magnolia AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Magnolia AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement 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 welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Magnolia AR contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Magnolia AR welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Magnolia AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Magnolia AR, confirm that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Magnolia AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Magnolia AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Magnolia Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
The city was founded in 1853. At the time of its incorporation in 1858, the city had a population of about 1,950. The city grew slowly as an agricultural and regional cotton market until the discovery of oil just east of the city in March 1938, with the Barnett #1 drilled by the Kerr-Lynn Company. The Magnolia Oil Field was an important discovery for the city as well as for the nation, as it was the largest producing field (in volume) during the early years of World War II, helping to sustain the American war effort.
Magnolia is located in southwest Arkansas, north of the center of Columbia County at 33°16′27″N 93°14′1″W / 33.27417°N 93.23361°W / 33.27417; -93.23361 (33.274052, -93.233477). The average altitude is 336 ft (102 m) above sea level according to NOAA. The surrounding region is a mix of dense forest, farm prairies, and low rolling hills.
The average temperature is 64 °F (18 °C), and the average annual rainfall is 50.3 inches (1,280 mm). The winters are mild but can dip into the teens at night and have highs in the 30s and even some 20s but average out around 50. The springs are warm and can be stormy with strong to severe storms and average highs in the mid 70s. Summers are often hot, humid and dry but with occasional isolated afternoon storms, highs in the mid to upper 90s and even 100s. In the fall the temps cool from the 90s and 100s to 80s and 70s. Early fall temps are usually in the 80s but can reach 90s and at times has reached 100. Late fall temps fall to 70s and 60s. It is not uncommon to see snow and ice during the winter. It has been known to snow a few times as late as April and as early as November in Magnolia.
Find the Right Welding Tech Program Magnolia AR
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Classes Cost. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Magnolia AR.