How to Find the Best Welder Degree Program near Casa Grande Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welding trade school near Casa Grande AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 common welding programs offered in the Casa Grande AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Casa Grande AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Casa Grande AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn 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 choose is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Casa Grande AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Casa Grande AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Casa Grande AZ contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Casa Grande AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Casa Grande AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy 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 considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Casa Grande Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Casa Grande AZ.