How to Select the Best Welder Degree Program near Drexel Heights Arizona
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Drexel Heights AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely 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 finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Drexel Heights AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Tech Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Drexel Heights AZ area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Drexel Heights AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist 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. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Drexel Heights AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Drexel Heights AZ employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities 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. Otherwise, ask a local Drexel Heights AZ welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Drexel Heights AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Drexel Heights AZ, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Drexel Heights Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Drexel Heights AZ.