How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Mount Holly Arkansas
Choosing the ideal welding technical school near Mount Holly AR is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Mount Holly AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Mount Holly AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Mount Holly AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant 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 must be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Mount Holly AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out 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 various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 Mount Holly AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Mount Holly AR contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after 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 evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar 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 Mount Holly AR welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Mount Holly AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Mount Holly AR, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Mount Holly AR area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin 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. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Mount Holly AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Mount Holly Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Smackover-Norphlet School District
Smackover-Norphlet School District No. 39 (SNSD), formerly Smackover School District 39, is a school district based in Smackover, Arkansas. It has territory in Union County, Ouachita County, and Columbia County.
On May 8, 2014 the Arkansas Board of Education (ABE) approved the merger of the Norphlet School District into the Smackover School District, effective July 1, 2014, forming the Smackover-Norphlet School District.
Find the Right Welding Tech Program Mount Holly AR
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Associates Degree. 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 must that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. 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 satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Mount Holly AR.