How to Enroll In the Right Welder Certification Course near Casa Grande Arizona
Finding the right welding vocational school near Casa Grande AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Casa Grande AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Casa Grande AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Casa Grande AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick 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). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Casa Grande AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction 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 looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These 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 develop associations within the Casa Grande AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high 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 Casa Grande AZ employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities 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 not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Casa Grande AZ welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Casa Grande AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Casa Grande AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Casa Grande Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training 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 fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Casa Grande AZ.