How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near Paragould Arkansas
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near Paragould AR is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Paragould AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. 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 supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Paragould AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Paragould AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, 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 education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Paragould AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction 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 considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Paragould AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Paragould AR employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Paragould AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Paragould AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Paragould AR, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Paragould AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their education and training. However, 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 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 seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Paragould AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Paragould Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Paragould is the county seat of Greene County, and the 19th-largest city in Arkansas, in the United States. The city is located in northeastern Arkansas on the eastern edge of Crowley's Ridge, a geologic anomaly contained within the Arkansas delta.
Paragould is the principal city of the Paragould, Arkansas Micropolitan Statistical Area and is also a part of the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area. The Paragould micropolitan area's population was 42,090 at the 2010 census, and the Jonesboro-Paragould Combined Statistical Area's population was 163,116.
The city's name is a blend combining the last names of competing railroad magnates J. W. Paramore and Jay Gould. Paramore's Texas & St. Louis Railway (later the Cotton Belt) and Gould's St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway (later the Missouri Pacific) intersected here in 1882. A group of citizens chose the name, and it is believed to be the only city in the world with this name. Gould objected to his name's being second and refused to list the new town on his schedules.
Find the Right Welding Technical Program Paragould AR
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welder Certification Training. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Paragould AR.