How to Pick the Best Welding Technical School near Anthem Arizona
Finding the right welder trade school near Anthem AZ is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options available 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Anthem AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete 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 supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Anthem AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things 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
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Anthem AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Anthem AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing 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 assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Anthem AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Anthem AZ employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Anthem AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Anthem AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's local 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 training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of 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 feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anthem AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Anthem Welding Course for Certification
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Anthem AZ.