How to Select the Right Welding Training Program near El Mirage Arizona
Finding the ideal welding school near El Mirage AZ is an important first step to launching 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the El Mirage AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous El Mirage AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the El Mirage AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in El Mirage AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The 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 larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the El Mirage AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of El Mirage AZ contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify 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 on the job. 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 contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose must be within commuting distance of your El Mirage AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to 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 an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best El Mirage Welding Training for Certification
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in El Mirage AZ.