How to Pick the Right Welding Technical School near Chino Valley Arizona
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Chino Valley AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Chino Valley AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Chino Valley AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, 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 does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Chino Valley AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Chino Valley AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Chino Valley 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 school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Chino Valley AZ employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Chino Valley AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Chino Valley AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chino Valley AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Chino Valley Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Chino Valley AZ.