How to Select the Right Welder Training Program near Bisbee Arizona
Choosing the ideal welding trade school near Bisbee AZ is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options to receive 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Bisbee AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Bisbee AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Bisbee AZ area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types 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 verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Bisbee AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger 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.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Bisbee AZ contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Bisbee AZ welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Bisbee AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses 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 offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely 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.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bisbee AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Bisbee Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Bisbee AZ.