How to Find the Best Welding Certificate Program near Drexel Heights Arizona
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Drexel Heights AZ is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welding trade 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 trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 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 additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Drexel Heights AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Technical Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Drexel Heights AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Drexel Heights AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Drexel Heights AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Drexel Heights AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Drexel Heights AZ welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Drexel Heights AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Drexel Heights AZ, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Drexel Heights Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Drexel Heights AZ.