How to Select a Welding Certification Course near Helena Arkansas
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Helena AR is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected welding 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 Classes
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in Helena AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by Arkansas trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach 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 Arkansas 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder in Helena AR.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Helena AR employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Helena AR employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain Helena AR area community colleges and trade schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle 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 seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welder Technical Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Helena AR area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. 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 evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, 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, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable for Helena AR 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. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other Helena AR metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Helena AR contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Helena AR welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Helena AR home. If you do choose to attend 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 diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the Helena AR area welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Helena AR, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Welding Technician?When getting ready to interview for a Welder position, it's important to consider questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters typically ask Welding candidates is "What compelled you to decide on Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not just the personal reasons you may have for being a Welding Tech, but additionally what qualities and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating specifically to Welding, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you want to answer them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you in addition to the talents you possess that make you an outstanding Welding Technician and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Select the Right Welding Trade Program near Helena AR
Picking the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Helena AR.
About Helena Arkansas
Helena–West Helena, Arkansas
Helena–West Helena is the county seat of and the largest city within Phillips County, Arkansas, United States. The current city was consolidated, effective January 1, 2006, from the two Arkansas cities of Helena and West Helena. Helena is sited on lowlands between the Mississippi River and the eastern side of Crowley's Ridge. West Helena is located on the western side of Crowley's Ridge, a geographic anomaly in the typically flat Arkansas Delta. The Helena Bridge, one of Arkansas' four Mississippi River bridges, carries U.S. Route 49 across to Mississippi. The combined population of the two cities was 15,012 at the 2000 census and at the 2010 census, the official population was 12,282.
The municipality traces its historical roots to the founding of the port town of Helena on the Mississippi River by European Americans in 1833. As the county seat, Helena was the center of a prosperous cotton plantation region in the antebellum years. Helena was occupied by the Union Army early in the American Civil War. The city was the site of the Battle of Helena fought in 1863. Confederate forces unsuccessfully tried to expel Union forces from Helena in order to help relieve pressure on the strategic river town of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Later in the year, Helena served as the launching point for the Union Army in the capture of Little Rock, the state capital.
A thriving blues community developed here in the 1940s and 1950s as rural musicians relocated for city jobs. Mechanization had reduced the need for farm workers. The city continued to grow until the closing of the Mohawk Rubber Company, a subsidiary of Yokohama Rubber Company, in the 1970s. Unemployment surged shortly after.
Among the attractions in Helena–West Helena are the Delta Cultural Center, the Pillow-Thompson House (owned and operated by the Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas), and the Helena Confederate Cemetery, which holds the remains of seven Confederate Army generals. The city holds an annual King Biscuit Blues Festival each October. It has been held under this name since 2010, when it was renamed at a 25th-anniversary performance by musician B.B. King.
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