How to Select the Right Welding Technical School near Fordyce Arkansas
Locating the right welding trade school near Fordyce AR is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know 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 reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welding vocational 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Fordyce AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Fordyce AR employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Fordyce AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Fordyce AR for schools that are not accredited. 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 welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Fordyce AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Fordyce AR employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate 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 unsure 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 Fordyce AR welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Fordyce AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fordyce AR, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Fordyce AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Fordyce AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Fordyce Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Fordyce is located in southeastern Dallas County, with the city's southern border following the Calhoun County line. U.S. Routes 79 and 167 bypass the city center to the north and west, while Arkansas Highway 8 passes through the downtown area. US 79 leads northeast 42 miles (68 km) to Pine Bluff and southwest 31 miles (50 km) to Camden, while US 167 leads north 35 miles (56 km) to Sheridan and south 51 miles (82 km) to El Dorado. AR 8 leads southeast 26 miles (42 km) to Warren and northwest 49 miles (79 km) to Arkadelphia.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 4,300 people residing in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 53.3% Black, 42.0% White, 0.5% Native American, 0.2% Asian, <0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from some other race and 1.1% from two or more races. 2.6% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 4,799 people, 1,737 households, and 1,186 families residing in the city. The population density was 727.8 people per square mile (281.2/km²). There were 2,024 housing units at an average density of 307 square miles (800 km2). The racial makeup of the city was 48.61% White, 49.66% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.42% Asian, 0.75% from other races, and 0.38% from two or more races. 1.19% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Select the Right Welding Trade School Fordyce AR
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Learn How To Weld. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum 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 satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Fordyce AR.