How to Select the Right Welding Trade School near Plainview Arkansas
Finding the right welding technical school near Plainview AR is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Plainview AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Plainview AR employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Plainview AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Plainview AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Plainview 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 crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Plainview AR employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Plainview AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Plainview AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask 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 see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Plainview AR, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Plainview AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Plainview AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Plainview Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
As of the census of 2000, there were 755 people, 287 households, and 212 families residing in the city. The population density was 522.7 people per square mile (202.4/km²). There were 347 housing units at an average density of 240.3/sq mi (93.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.85% White, 0.13% Black or African American, 0.53% Native American, 6.36% from other races, and 0.13% from two or more races. 6.36% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 287 households out of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.1% were non-families. 24.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the city, the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 26.4% from 25 to 44, 17.1% from 45 to 64, and 18.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females, there were 97.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.8 males.
Select the Best Welding Vocational School Plainview AR
Choosing the best welding training program 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 Best Welding Colleges. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing 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 education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Plainview AR.