How to Choose the Right Welder Degree Program near Branch Arkansas
Choosing the right welding trade school near Branch AR is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Branch AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Branch AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Branch AR area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose 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 want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Branch AR for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Branch AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Branch AR contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm 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 working with 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. If not, ask a local Branch AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Branch AR home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Branch AR, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Branch AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most important 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 need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Branch AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Branch Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Branch is located in southwestern Franklin County at the junctions of Arkansas Highways 22 and 41. Highway 22 leads east 5 miles (8 km) to Caulksville and west 5 miles (8 km) to Charleston, while Highway 41 leads north 10 miles (16 km) to Cecil and south 14 miles (23 km) to Booneville. Fort Smith is 28 miles (45 km) to the west.
As of the census of 2000, there were 357 people, 141 households, and 106 families residing in the city. The population density was 100.1 people per square mile (38.6/km²). There were 155 housing units at an average density of 43.5 per square mile (16.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 96.08% White, 1.68% Native American, 0.84% Asian, 0.56% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 0.56% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 141 households out of which 31.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.8% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.8% were non-families. 21.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 2.92.
Choose the Ideal Welding Tech School Branch AR
Selecting the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in 6 Month Welding Course. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Branch AR.