How to Enroll In the Best Welding Certification Course near El Mirage Arizona
Locating the ideal welder technical school near El Mirage AZ is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welding technical 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 trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish 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 a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain 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 explanations of the most common welding programs available in the El Mirage AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many El Mirage AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. 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 certain kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the El Mirage AZ area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in El Mirage AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the El Mirage AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, 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 school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of El Mirage AZ employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local El Mirage AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your El Mirage AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving 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 an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Best El Mirage Welding Course for Certification
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical 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 evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in El Mirage AZ.