How to Find the Right Welder Degree Program near Harrisburg Arkansas
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Harrisburg AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in Harrisburg AR.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by Arkansas technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by Arkansas community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Harrisburg AR.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Harrisburg AR employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Harrisburg AR employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by various Harrisburg AR area community colleges and trade schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need 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 expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welding Technical School
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Harrisburg AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types 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 confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for Harrisburg AR non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various Harrisburg AR 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the local welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Harrisburg AR contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Harrisburg AR welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Harrisburg AR home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the Harrisburg AR area welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Harrisburg AR, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Be a Welding Technician?When prepping to interview for a Welder position, it's advantageous to consider questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers typically ask Welding applicants is "What drove you to select Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you might have for becoming a Welder, but also what characteristics and talents you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Welding, along with a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are several variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the talents you have that make you an excellent Welder and the leading candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but jot down some ideas and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can help you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Select the Right Welding Tech Program near Harrisburg AR
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Harrisburg AR.
About Harrisburg Arkansas
Harrisburg is a city in Poinsett County, Arkansas, United States. The population was 2,192 at the 2000 census. It is included in the Jonesboro, Arkansas Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city is the county seat of Poinsett County.
Harrisburg is located at 35°33′51″N 90°43′20″W / 35.56417°N 90.72222°W / 35.56417; -90.72222 (35.564123, -90.722152) on Crowley's Ridge.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2), all land.
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