How to Enroll In the Best Welding Certification Classes near Chandler Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Chandler AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Training Programs
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Chandler AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Chandler AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Chandler AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Chandler AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Chandler AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Chandler AZ contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Chandler AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed 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 in the evenings or on weekends near Chandler AZ, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Chandler Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect 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 final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Chandler AZ.