How to Select the Best Welder Vocational School near Corona De Tucson Arizona
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Corona De Tucson AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Corona De Tucson AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Corona De Tucson AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Corona De Tucson AZ area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Corona De Tucson AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various 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. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Corona De Tucson AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Corona De Tucson AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Corona De Tucson AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Corona De Tucson AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Corona De Tucson AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Corona De Tucson Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Corona De Tucson AZ.