How to Enroll In the Best Welder Certification Classes near El Mirage Arizona
Choosing the right welder vocational school near El Mirage AZ is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 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 several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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. Following are brief summaries 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 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily 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 two years to finish 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous El Mirage AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the El Mirage AZ area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. 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 select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available 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 also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the El Mirage AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of El Mirage AZ contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. 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. If not, ask a local El Mirage AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your El Mirage AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools 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 a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near El Mirage AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Right El Mirage Welding School for Certification
Selecting the right welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. 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 sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in El Mirage AZ.