How to Pick the Best Welding Certificate Program near Buckeye Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder school near Buckeye AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many 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 select the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Buckeye AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 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 additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish 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 furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Buckeye AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon 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 certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Buckeye AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick 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 receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Buckeye AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Buckeye AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in 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 higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Buckeye AZ contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment 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 uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Buckeye AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Buckeye AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Buckeye AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Buckeye Welding School for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Buckeye AZ.