How to Enroll In the Best Welder Certification Course near Douglas Arizona
Selecting the right welder school near Douglas AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Douglas AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Douglas AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types 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, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Douglas AZ area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder 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 a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Douglas AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Douglas AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber 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 Douglas AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Douglas AZ welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Douglas AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient 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 looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Douglas Welding Program for Certification
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Douglas AZ.