How to Select the Best Welder Technical School near Apache Junction Arizona
Choosing the right welder trade school near Apache Junction AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of 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? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welding technical 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 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 Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees 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 typical welding programs offered in the Apache Junction AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying 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 future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Apache Junction AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Apache Junction AZ area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Apache Junction AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Apache Junction AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Apache Junction AZ employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate 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 working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Apache Junction AZ welding contractor 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 cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Apache Junction AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation 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. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Apache Junction Welding Course for Certification
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ 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 means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Apache Junction AZ.