How to Select the Best Welder Training Classes near Cave Creek Arizona
Choosing the right 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 so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once 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 reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Cave Creek AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Cave Creek AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Cave Creek AZ area. That's why it's important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Cave Creek 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 also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other 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 help students find employment and develop associations within the Cave Creek AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher 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 Cave Creek AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs 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 trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already 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 tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Cave Creek AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cave Creek AZ, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Cave Creek Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the best welding school will undoubtedly 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 programs you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. 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 satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right 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.