How to Choose the Best Welding Vocational School near Cave Creek Arizona
Finding the ideal welder trade school near Cave Creek AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select 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? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues 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 initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Cave Creek AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Cave Creek AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Cave Creek AZ area. That's why it's essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard 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 instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Cave Creek AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some 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 refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Cave Creek AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Cave Creek AZ contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Cave Creek AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Cave Creek AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely 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. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cave Creek AZ, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Cave Creek Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Cave Creek AZ.