How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Course near West Memphis Arkansas
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near West Memphis AR is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welder 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the West Memphis AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop 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 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 diploma or certificate while still providing 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 future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous West Memphis AR employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the West Memphis AR area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 verify 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in West Memphis AR for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the West Memphis AR welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of West Memphis AR contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 West Memphis AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your West Memphis AR home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs 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 getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Memphis AR, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater West Memphis AR area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to 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 attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in West Memphis AR?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the West Memphis Arkansas area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
West Memphis, Arkansas
West Memphis is the largest city in Crittenden County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 26,245 at the 2010 census, ranking it as the state's 18th largest city, behind Bella Vista. It is part of the Memphis metropolitan area, and is located directly across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee.
Native Americans lived in the Mississippi River Valley for at least 10,000 years, although much of the evidence of their presence has been buried or destroyed. The Indians of the Mississippian Period were the last native inhabitants of the West Memphis area. Mound City Road, located within the eastern portion of the West Memphis city limits, has a marker indicating that the villages of Aquixo (Aquijo) or Pacaha were in the area. Several mounds are still visible.
Explorers from both Spain and France visited the area near West Memphis. Among those explorers were Hernando de Soto and his men from Spain and Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Jolliet from France. By the time French hunters and explorers entered the region, the Mississippian towns and other settlements had been abandoned. The original site of West Memphis came from Spanish land grants issued during the 1790s. Grants were given to Benjamin Fooy, John Henry Fooy, and Isaac Fooy in the Hopefield (Crittenden County) area and to William McKenney in the Bridgeport-West Memphis area.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational Program West Memphis AR
Choosing the right welder training program 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 MIG Welding Lessons. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Memphis AR.