How to Enroll In the Right Welder Certification Program near Texarkana Arkansas
Selecting the right welding trade school near Texarkana AR is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Texarkana AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Texarkana AR employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Texarkana AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, 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 acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Texarkana AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Texarkana AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Texarkana AR employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out 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 comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Texarkana AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Texarkana AR home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Texarkana AR, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Texarkana AR area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Texarkana AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Texarkana Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Texarkana is a city in Arkansas and the county seat of Miller County. The city is located across the state line from its twin city, Texarkana, Texas. The city was founded at a railroad intersection on December 8, 1873, and was incorporated in Arkansas on August 10, 1880. Texarkana (together with its Texas counterpart) is the principal city of the Texarkana metropolitan area, which is ranked 274th in terms of population in the United States with 150,098 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau.
Located within the Ark-La-Tex subregion of Southwest Arkansas, Texarkana is located in the Piney Woods, a oak-hickory forest atop the flat Gulf Coastal Plain. Texarkana's economy is driven by agriculture and the city's position as a crossroads of three major Interstate highways: Interstate 30 (I-30), I-49 and the future I-69. Outdoors tourism, such as fishing at Lake Millwood, are also important in the region. The Texarkana Arkansas School District is the largest public school district on the Arkansas side, leading to graduation from Arkansas High School. The city is home to Texarkana College (on the Texas side of town), and a branch campus of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope (UACCH).
Texarkana, Arkansas, is located at 33°25′59″N 94°1′14″W / 33.43306°N 94.02056°W / 33.43306; -94.02056 (33.433075, -94.020514). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 41.9 square miles (108.4 km2), of which 41.7 square miles (107.9 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2) (0.43%) is water.
Select the Best Welding Tech School Texarkana AR
Picking the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in TIG Welding Lessons. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Texarkana AR.