How to Pick the Right Welding Technical School near Siloam Springs Arkansas
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Siloam Springs AR is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to establish 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Siloam Springs AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Siloam Springs AR employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some 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 certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Siloam Springs AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. 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 following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Siloam Springs AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing 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 assistance program. These 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Siloam Springs 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 finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced 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 an indication of the quality of training. A high 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 Siloam Springs AR contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Siloam Springs AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Siloam Springs AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and ask 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. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Siloam Springs AR, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Siloam Springs AR area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Siloam Springs AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Siloam Springs Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Siloam Springs, Arkansas
Siloam Springs is a city in Benton County, Arkansas, United States. The city shares a border on the Arkansas-Oklahoma state line with the city of West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma, which is within the Cherokee Nation territory. The town was founded in 1882 and was characterized by the purported healing powers of the spring water feeding Sager Creek and trading with nearby Native American tribes. John Brown University (JBU) was founded in 1919 as a private, interdenominational, Christian liberal arts college in the city. Today, Siloam Springs is known for its efforts to preserve and revitalize the city's historic downtown and as a promoter of the arts via Sager Creek Arts Center and the JBU art gallery. The community is located on the western edge of the growing Northwest Arkansas metropolitan area and has had a population increase of 47% to 15,039 between the 2000 and 2010 censuses.
Osage Indians were the known first inhabitants of the area. Siloam Springs' first white settlers were of German and Scots-Irish origin. Simon Sager is considered the founder of the town, then known as Hico.
The area is located in the Mid-South region of the country where the southern plains meet the Ozark Mountains. The city sits atop a plateau with many dogwood trees growing across the landscape. Siloam Springs is made up of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and West Siloam Springs, Oklahoma. The latter is in the territory of the Cherokee Nation in northeastern Oklahoma.
Select the Best Welding Vocational School Siloam Springs AR
Choosing the best welding training program 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 Certified Welding Classes. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should 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 certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Siloam Springs AR.