How to Select the Right Welder Certification Course near West Helena Arkansas
Enrolling in the ideal welding technical school near West Helena AR is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Classes
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the West Helena AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous West Helena AR employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Trade Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the West Helena AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized 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 might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in West Helena AR for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the West Helena AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of West Helena AR employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local West Helena AR welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your West Helena AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Helena AR, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater West Helena AR area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly 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 better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in West Helena AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the West Helena Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Helena–West Helena, Arkansas
Helena–West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States. The current city was consolidated, effective January 1, 2006, from the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. Helena is sited on lowlands between the Mississippi River and the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge. West Helena is located on the western side of Crowley's Ridge, a geographic anomaly in the typically flat Arkansas Delta. The Helena Bridge, one of Arkansas' four Mississippi River bridges, carries U.S. Route 49 across to Mississippi. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census and at the 2010 census, the official population was 12,282.
The municipality traces its historical roots to the founding of the port town of Helena on the Mississippi River by European Americans in 1833. As the county seat, Helena was the center of a prosperous cotton plantation region in the antebellum years. Helena was occupied by the Union Army early in the American Civil War. The city was the site of the Battle of Helena fought in 1863. Confederate forces unsuccessfully tried to expel Union forces from Helena in order to help relieve pressure on the strategic river town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later in the year, Helena served as the launching point for the Union Army in the capture of Little Rock, the state capital.
A thriving blues community developed here in the 1940s and 1950s as rural musicians relocated for city jobs. Mechanization had reduced the need for farm workers. The city continued to grow until the closing of the Mohawk Rubber Company, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Company, in the 1970s. Unemployment surged shortly after.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech School West Helena AR
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Learn Welding Online. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration 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. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Helena AR.