How to Enroll In the Right Welder Certification Course near Casa Grande Arizona
Locating the right welder trade school near Casa Grande AZ is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Casa Grande AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach 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 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Casa Grande AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some 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 various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means 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 welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Casa Grande AZ area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant 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 considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard 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 instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Casa Grande AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older 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 associations within the Casa Grande AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Casa Grande AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Casa Grande AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Casa Grande AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present 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 Casa Grande AZ, confirm that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Casa Grande Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Casa Grande AZ.