How to Enroll In the Right Welder Certification Course near Apache Junction Arizona
Choosing the ideal welding technical school near Apache Junction AZ is an important 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several options to receive 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Apache Junction AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Apache Junction AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Apache Junction AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Apache Junction AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find 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 begin an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Apache Junction AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Apache Junction AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Apache Junction AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Apache Junction Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Apache Junction AZ.