How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Avondale Arizona
Finding the ideal welder trade 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 select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop 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
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Avondale AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 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 make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Avondale AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Avondale AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Avondale AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place 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. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Avondale AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Avondale AZ employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. 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 Avondale AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Avondale AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Avondale Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Avondale AZ.