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How to Choose the Best Welder Vocational School near Douglas Arizona

Douglas Arizona construction welder at work siteLocating the ideal welding school near Douglas AZ is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welding technical 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes

Douglas Arizona welder working in metal shop

There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Douglas AZ area.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.

Welding Certification Choices

Douglas Arizona welder welding metal frame

There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Douglas AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like 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 acknowledge are the welder's ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specified metal thicknesses
  • Work with various types of welds
  • Operate according to contract specifications

As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.

What to Ask Welder Technical Programs

Douglas Arizona electrician welding electrical pole

When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Douglas AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Douglas AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement 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. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Douglas AZ welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Douglas AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Up-to-date 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 evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Douglas AZ welding professional if they can give you a few tips.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Douglas AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.

Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Douglas AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.

Find out More About Douglas Welder Training Programs

Find the Best Douglas Welding Course for Certification

Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line 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 serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Douglas AZ.

 

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