How to Select the Best Welding Certification Classes near Avra Valley Arizona
Finding the ideal welder vocational school near Avra Valley AZ is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found 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 considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered 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, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually 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 states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Avra Valley AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Avra Valley AZ area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Avra Valley AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various 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 placement program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Avra Valley AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Avra Valley AZ contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Avra Valley AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Avra Valley AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Avra Valley AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Avra Valley Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the ideal 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 a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Avra Valley AZ.