How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Course near Avondale Arizona
Finding the right welding school near Avondale AZ is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, 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 identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Avondale AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If 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 qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Avondale AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Avondale AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many 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 need to be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you choose 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 specific program the school offers, for example 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, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Avondale AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction 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 placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger 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.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Avondale AZ employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed 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 already 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 pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Avondale AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Avondale AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Avondale Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Avondale AZ.