How to Choose the Right Welder Training Program near Searcy Arkansas
Selecting the ideal welding vocational school near Searcy AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations 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 initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain 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. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Searcy AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop 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 2 years to finish 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Searcy AR employers not only require 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 offered based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, some 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 way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Searcy AR area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most 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 must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Searcy AR for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Searcy AR welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Searcy AR employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Searcy AR welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Searcy AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat 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. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure 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 Searcy AR, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Searcy AR area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant 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 done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Searcy AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Searcy Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Searcy (/ˈsɜːrsi/ SUR-see) is the largest city and county seat of White County, Arkansas, United States. According to 2019 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 23,660. It is the principal city of the Searcy, AR Micropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of White County. The city takes its name from Richard Searcy, a judge for the Superior Court of the Arkansas Territory. A college town, Searcy is the home of Harding University and ASU-Searcy.
Originally named White Sulphur Springs, the town's name was changed in 1837, two years after White County was created. The state changed the county seat name to honor Richard Searcy (1794-1832), a prominent Arkansas Legislator.
Israel Moore, who had traveled west from Philadelphia, was in charge of laying out Searcy's original streets, and "he proceeded to name the major streets of Searcy for those of downtown Old Philadelphia near Independence Hall; Race, Arch, Market, Vine, Spring, and the tree-honoring streets of Cherry, Spruce, Locust and Pine." In 1957, Searcy named Moore Street after the 19th-century founder.
Pick the Best Welding Technical School Searcy AR
Choosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Education For Welding. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Searcy AR.