How to Pick the Best Welder Trade School near Apache Junction Arizona
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Apache Junction AZ is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Apache Junction AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Apache Junction AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate 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 decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Apache Junction AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school 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 may want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Apache Junction AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger 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.
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 crucial that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Apache Junction AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Apache Junction AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Apache Junction AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Apache Junction AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Apache Junction Welding School for Certification
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important 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 evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school 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 Apache Junction AZ.