How to Choose the Right Welder Training Program near Douglas Arizona
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Douglas AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine 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 checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop 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 Training Classes
There are a number of 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Douglas AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop 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 complete 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.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Douglas AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Douglas AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Douglas AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations 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 placements. These programs can help students find 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 finish it. It's important that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Douglas AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Douglas AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Douglas AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Douglas AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Douglas Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Douglas AZ.