How to Select the Right Welder Technical School near Bullhead City Arizona
Choosing the right welder vocational school near Bullhead City AZ is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at 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 crucial considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Bullhead City AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Bullhead City AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Bullhead City AZ area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Bullhead City AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Bullhead City AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Bullhead City AZ employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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 Bullhead City AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Bullhead City AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Bullhead City AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Bullhead City Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Bullhead City AZ.