How to Find the Best Welder Training Classes near Avra Valley Arizona
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Avra Valley AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when reviewing welder 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 trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Avra Valley AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Avra Valley AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds 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 confirm that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Avra Valley AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously 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 looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain 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 choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Avra Valley AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Avra Valley AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Avra Valley AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date 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 equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Avra Valley AZ welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Avra Valley AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a few of the instructors 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 working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Avra Valley AZ, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Avra Valley Welding School for Certification
Picking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on 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 Avra Valley AZ.