How to Enroll In the Right Welder Training Program near Bisbee Arizona
Locating the ideal welder technical school near Bisbee AZ is an important first step to starting 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 fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations 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 prudent to develop 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Bisbee AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, 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 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 diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Bisbee AZ employers not only demand 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 upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Bisbee AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Bisbee AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
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 assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help 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 refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Bisbee AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Bisbee AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify 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 working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Bisbee AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Bisbee AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bisbee AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Bisbee Welding School for Certification
Picking the right 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 many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Bisbee AZ.