How to Find the Right Welder Training Classes near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Locating the ideal welder vocational school near Catalina Foothills AZ is an important first step to beginning 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 narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Catalina Foothills AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish 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.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Catalina Foothills AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Catalina Foothills AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Catalina Foothills AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Catalina Foothills AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Catalina Foothills AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Catalina Foothills AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
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 keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Catalina Foothills AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
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 flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Catalina Foothills AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Catalina Foothills Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Catalina Foothills AZ.