How to Choose the Best Welding Training Classes near Cave Creek Arizona
Locating the right welder trade school near Cave Creek AZ is an essential first step to starting 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to create 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Cave Creek AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Cave Creek AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. 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 certain types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types 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 welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Cave Creek AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Cave Creek AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships 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 associations 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 welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Cave Creek AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Cave Creek AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Cave Creek AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Cave Creek AZ, verify that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Cave Creek Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Cave Creek AZ.