How to Choose the Best Welder Training Classes near Chandler Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder trade school near Chandler AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Chandler AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Chandler AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Chandler AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Chandler AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Chandler AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify 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 high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Chandler AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, 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 modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently 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 previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Chandler AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask 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 looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chandler AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Chandler Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Chandler AZ.