How to Enroll In the Right Welder Trade School near Chinle Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder school near Chinle AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options to receive 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Chinle AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Chinle AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. 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 various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Chinle AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder 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 single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Chinle 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 Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Chinle AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Chinle AZ employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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. If not, ask a local Chinle AZ welding contractor 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 need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Chinle AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's regional 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 instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Chinle AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Chinle Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs 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 training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Chinle AZ.