How to Find the Right Welder Certification Program near Bullhead City Arizona
Selecting the right welder technical school near Bullhead City AZ is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welder 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 trade school to become a welder, it's wise to create 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 Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options available 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Bullhead City AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Bullhead City AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Bullhead City AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds 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 example 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 recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Bullhead City 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 also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out 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 various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Bullhead City AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Bullhead City AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Bullhead City AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Bullhead City AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bullhead City AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Bullhead City Welding Training for Certification
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any welder training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Bullhead City AZ.