How to Enroll In the Best Welder Certification Classes near Chandler Arizona
Locating the right welder school near Chandler AZ is an essential first step to launching 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Chandler AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require 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 working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Chandler AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some 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 types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Programs
Once you have chosen 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 welding trade and technical schools in the Chandler AZ area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds 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 select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Chandler AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Chandler AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Chandler AZ contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three options, 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 up-to-date. Specifically, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Chandler AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Chandler AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Chandler Welding Training for Certification
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Chandler AZ.