How to Select the Right Welding Technical School near Pine Bluff Arkansas
Finding the ideal welding school near Pine Bluff AR is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welding trade 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 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Pine Bluff AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Pine Bluff AR employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder vocational school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Pine Bluff AR area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Pine Bluff AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Pine Bluff AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Pine Bluff AR employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Pine Bluff 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 need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Pine Bluff AR home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pine Bluff AR, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Pine Bluff AR area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice 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 unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed 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 expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Pine Bluff AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Pine Bluff Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Pine Bluff is the tenth-largest city in the state of Arkansas and the county seat of Jefferson County. It is the principal city of the Pine Bluff Metropolitan Statistical Area and part of the Little Rock-North Little Rock-Pine Bluff Combined Statistical Area. The population of the city was 49,083 in the 2010 Census with 2017 estimates showing a decline to 42,984.
The city is situated in the Southeast section of the Arkansas Delta and straddles the Arkansas Timberlands region to its west. Its topography is flat with wide expanses of farmland, consistent with other places in the Delta Lowlands. Pine Bluff has numerous creeks, streams, and bayous. (Bayou Bartholomew is the longest bayou in the world and is the second most-diverse stream in the United States). Large bodies of water include Lake Pine Bluff, Lake Langhofer (Slack Water Harbor), and the Arkansas River.
The area along the Arkansas River had been inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples of various cultures. They used the river for transportation as did European settlers after them, and for fishing. By the time of encounter with Europeans, the historical Quapaw were the chief people in the area, having migrated from the Ohio River valley centuries before.
Choose the Right Welding Trade School Pine Bluff AR
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Good Welding Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect 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, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Pine Bluff AR.