How to Pick the Right Welding Technical School near El Dorado Arkansas
Locating the ideal welding trade school near El Dorado AR is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick 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? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when reviewing welding 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options to receive 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the El Dorado AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous El Dorado AR employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the El Dorado AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard 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 example 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in El Dorado AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the El Dorado AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of El Dorado AR employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three options, 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 modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local El Dorado AR welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your El Dorado AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might 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 offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk 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 Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near El Dorado AR, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater El Dorado AR area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide 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 handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in El Dorado AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the El Dorado Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
El Dorado, Arkansas
El Dorado is headquarters of the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission as well as Murphy Oil, Murphy USA, Deltic Timber Corporation, and the Lion Oil Refinery. The city contains a community college, South Arkansas Community College ("SouthArk"), a multi-cultural arts center: South Arkansas Arts Center (SAAC). El Dorado is the population, cultural, and business center of the regional area.
The city is best known as being the heart of the 1920s oil boom in southern Arkansas. Its nickname is "Arkansas’s Original Boomtown". During World War II, it became a center of the chemical industry, which still plays a part in the economy, as do oil and timber. El Dorado is located approximately 100 miles (160 km) from the state capital of Little Rock.
El Dorado is located at 33°12′49″N 92°39′45″W / 33.21361°N 92.66250°W / 33.21361; -92.66250 (33.213521, -92.662553). in Union County, Arkansas in the southern part of the state. Union County is the largest county in the state of Arkansas and borders the state of Louisiana. The area has the unique feature of sharing its border with eight counties and parishes: Ouachita; Calhoun; Bradley; Columbia; Ashley; Claiborne Parish; Union Parish; and Morehouse Parish, Louisiana. El Dorado is the largest urban population center in its region.
Select the Right Welding Tech Program El Dorado AR
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welder Classes. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak 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 program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in El Dorado AR.