How to Find the Right Welding Certificate Program near Douglas Arizona
Selecting the right welding trade school near Douglas AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Douglas AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out 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 providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Douglas AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder vocational school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Douglas AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most 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 should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select 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 a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Douglas AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other 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 relationships within the Douglas AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Douglas AZ contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over 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 not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Douglas AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Douglas AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Douglas AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Douglas Welding Training for Certification
Picking the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. 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 reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Douglas AZ.