How to Select the Best Welding Training Classes near Buckeye Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welding trade school near Buckeye AZ is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Buckeye AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies 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 potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Buckeye AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds 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 local area and verify that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Programs
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Buckeye AZ area. That's why it's essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. 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 choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Buckeye AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 develop relationships within the Buckeye AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Buckeye AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Buckeye AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Buckeye AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Buckeye AZ, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Buckeye Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity 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 own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Buckeye AZ.