How to Find the Right Welder Trade School near Cottonwood Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder trade school near Cottonwood AZ is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Cottonwood AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Cottonwood AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states 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 means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Cottonwood AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Cottonwood AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have associations 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Cottonwood AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied 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 high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Cottonwood AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Cottonwood AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Cottonwood AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask 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. Similarly, speak with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession 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 meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cottonwood AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Cottonwood Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Cottonwood AZ.