How to Choose the Best Welding Certification Classes near Chandler Arizona
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Chandler AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most 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 gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welding vocational 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 sensible to develop 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of alternatives available 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Chandler AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Chandler AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Chandler AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Chandler AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Chandler AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Chandler AZ employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to 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 not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Chandler AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Chandler AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Chandler Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program 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 Chandler AZ.