How to Choose the Right Welding Technical School near Drexel Heights Arizona
Choosing the right welder vocational school near Drexel Heights AZ is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Drexel Heights AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a 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 additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which test 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 program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Drexel Heights AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Drexel Heights AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 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 begin an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Drexel Heights AZ employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over 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 on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Drexel Heights AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Drexel Heights AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could 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 offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Drexel Heights AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Drexel Heights Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. 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 each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Drexel Heights AZ.