How to Select the Right Welder Certificate Program near Buckeye Arizona
Locating the right welding trade school near Buckeye AZ is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many 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 select the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Buckeye AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Buckeye AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Buckeye AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Buckeye AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, 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 confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Buckeye AZ contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Buckeye AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you select must be within driving distance of your Buckeye AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Buckeye AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain 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 because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Buckeye Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor 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 result will be a new career as a professional welder in Buckeye AZ.