How to Choose the Best Welding Training Classes near Coolidge Arizona
Selecting the ideal welder school near Coolidge AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Coolidge AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Coolidge AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Trade Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Coolidge AZ area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Coolidge AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist 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 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 develop associations within the Coolidge AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Coolidge AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Coolidge AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Coolidge AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Coolidge AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Coolidge Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welding training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Coolidge AZ.