How to Pick the Best Welder Training Program near Arizona City Arizona
Selecting the ideal welding vocational school near Arizona City AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Arizona City AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Arizona City AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. 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
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Arizona City AZ area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. 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 following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Arizona City AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various 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. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 develop relationships within the Arizona City AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 trade, but additionally that it has the network of Arizona City AZ employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 Arizona City AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Arizona City AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask 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, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Arizona City AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Arizona City Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current 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 credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Arizona City AZ.