How to Select a Welder Trade School near Norman Arkansas
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Norman AR is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options to obtain 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in Norman AR.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by Arkansas trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 furnishes 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 be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder in Norman AR.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Norman AR employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind 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 kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Norman AR employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various Norman AR area community colleges and vocational 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 provide a beginner a foundation to start 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. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Pick a Welding Trade Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Norman AR area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose 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 can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered for Norman AR schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other Norman 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 Norman AR contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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. Otherwise, ask a local Norman AR welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Norman AR home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the Norman AR area welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current 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 at night or on weekends near Norman AR, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Welder?When preparing to interview for a Welding position, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask Welder applicants is "What made you decide on Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to discover is not merely the personal reasons you may have for being a Welder, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Welding, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you must ready a number of approaches about how you want to address them. Because there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding Welding Technician and the ideal candidate for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical Program near Norman AR
Choosing the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Norman AR.
About Norman Arkansas
Norman is a town in Montgomery County, Arkansas, United States. It was known as Womble until 1925. The population was 378 at the 2010 census.
Norman is located at 34°27′24″N 93°40′54″W / 34.45667°N 93.68167°W / 34.45667; -93.68167 (34.456684, -93.681618).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.0 km² (1.2 mi²), all land.
Norman is situated on the northern banks of the Caddo River (which defines the town's southwestern city limits) and is surrounded by the Ouachita National Forest.
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