How to Select the Right Welding Technical School near Coolidge Arizona
Selecting the right welder vocational school near Coolidge AZ is an important first step to launching 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 right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected 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 several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Coolidge AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Coolidge AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many 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 just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Trade Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Coolidge AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Coolidge AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various 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 assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Coolidge AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Coolidge AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure 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 contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Coolidge AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Coolidge AZ, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll 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 illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Best Coolidge Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot 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 needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Coolidge AZ.