How to Select the Right Welding Vocational School near Avondale Arizona
Finding the right welding vocational school near Avondale AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to create 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Avondale 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 scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Avondale AZ employers not only demand 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 based upon the type of work that the welder does. 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 types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Avondale AZ area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Avondale AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist 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 refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Avondale AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who enrolled 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Avondale AZ contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Avondale AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Avondale AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder 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 some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Avondale Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Avondale AZ.