How to Find the Best Welding Certification Course near Chandler Arizona
Enrolling in the right welding school near Chandler AZ is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welding technical 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 wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder 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 earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Chandler AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. 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 finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Chandler AZ employers not only expect 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 offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, 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 decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welding trade 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 basic 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Chandler AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Chandler AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Chandler AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Chandler AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Chandler AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Chandler Welding Course for Certification
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. 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 right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Chandler AZ.