How to Find the Right Welding Training Classes near El Mirage Arizona
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near El Mirage AZ is an essential first step to beginning 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the El Mirage AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous El Mirage AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills 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 according to contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the El Mirage AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider 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 program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in El Mirage AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the El Mirage AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled 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 caliber of training. A high 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 El Mirage AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, 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 already 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 some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance 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 school you select needs to be within driving distance of your El Mirage AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate 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 local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right El Mirage Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in El Mirage AZ.